Gov. Pete Ricketts promises to better track his travel after questions have arisen about overtime paid to his Nebraska State Patrol security detail.
Ricketts doesn’t apologize for flying to Europe and Japan for trade missions or even a trip or two to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs, which his family owns.
Ricketts does say he’s working with the Nebraska State Patrol to improve the data used to track travel.
“And we’re also going to do it in my office as well,” Ricketts tells reporters during a news conference at the Capitol office. “I’m going to, on my public calendar now what we’re going to do is we’re going to be listing that out-of-state travel even if it’s for personal things so that the people of Nebraska can see what that is all about.”
Questions about the governor’s travel took a turn when Ricketts’ staff released data from the Nebraska State Patrol to Nebraska Watchdog which claimed former Gov. Dave Heineman, a fellow Republican, had taken 32 out-of-state trips in 2008 and 47 in 2007.
That data release by the Ricketts Administration struck a nerve with Heineman.
“And I knew right away that had to be wrong,” Heineman tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “Think about it, 47 trips, that would mean you’re gone every week. And, obviously, I didn’t do that.”
Heineman says the calendar he kept during those years as governor indicate he took 11 out-of-state trips both years.
Ricketts says his office released the data available on the NSP executive protection detail. Ricketts says his staff never stated the data it released was anybody’s specific trips.
A security detail is dispatched by NSP for the governor, members of the Nebraska Supreme Court, as well as members of the Nebraska Unicameral traveling on official business.
AUDIO: Gov. Pete Ricketts makes statement about travel. [2 min.]
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]