Recent Examples of Government Waste, Fraud and Mismanagement
$2.6 Million to Rent Vacant Building for Two Years.
The state has
spent $1.3 million a year to rent a vacant office building for the past two
years, investigative reporter Mike Luery reported July 13.
Mr. Luery, who
frequently unveils government waste in his "On the Money" feature for Sacramento
television station CBS-13, found that the building in Rancho Cordova is
leased by EdFund, the non-profit auxiliary of the California Student Aid
Commission, which had planned to move there.
that the Student Aid Commission was told not to move in," Mr. Luery reported.
"The state was planning to sell EdFund and didn't want to have the Student Aid
Commission move in to the empty building only to have the commission move out,
in the event of a sale."
Student Aid Commission was moved to another location where the rent reportedly
is cheaper than it would have been in the EdFund building. A spokesman for the
state Department of Finance said that by not moving the commission into the
empty building, the state saved more than $1 million.
Still, the rent
for an empty office is coming out of the student loan operating fund, and
apparently will continue to be paid until EdFund is sold. The Student Aid
Commission said the $2.6 million could have provided financial aid for up to
1,000 college students (while the money comes out of the "student loan" fund,
the report said the aid to students would be in the form of grants, not loans,
so the money would not have to be paid back by the students).
television crew went to the property to film the empty office space, it
initially was met by a security guard and EdFund lawyer who attempted to stop
the cameraman from filming, and threatened to call police to remove the crew
from the property. An EdFund spokeswoman later agreed to be interviewed and said
the guard and lawyer may have been overprotective because of the "confidential
nature of what we do."
Commenting on the
report, news anchor Sam Shane noted: "No private business would be in business
if they ran it like this." (Source: CBS-13's "On the Money," July 13.)
recommendation: The state should identify any other unused properties that are
being rented or maintained with tax dollars, and should take immediate steps to
improve the management of its resources. It doesn't make sense that while
taxpayers are paying $1.3 million a year to rent an empty building, the state is
moving forward with plans to sell state-owned offices and then rent them back
from the new owners.
Problems, CSU Continues Offering Generous Salaries.
The California State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously July 13 to
keep the annual salary of incoming Cal Poly interim President Robert Glidden
roughly the same as that received by outgoing President Warren Baker, who is
retiring at the end of the month after 31 years as president.
Mr. Baker is paid
$328,209 per year, making him the highest-paid of the 23 CSU presidents. The
brand new president, who is slated to begin at Cal Poly on August 1, will
receive $328,200 just $9 less than the 31-year veteran.
The CSU board also
voted to provide Mr. Glidden with a university-owned vehicle and housing on the
Cal Poly campus. The outgoing president receives a $60,000 housing allowance per
year for his off-campus residence, plus a $1,000-a-month car allowance.
Mr. Glidden, 73,
previously served as the president of Ohio University from 1994 to 2004.
The board also
voted to provide interim San Jose State University President Don W. Kassing with
a $328,200 annual salary, a $25,000 supplement from private donation money
handled by a university foundation, a car or a $1,000-a-month car allowance, and
a home at the university.
The CSU's recently
appointed vice chancellor and chief academic officer, Ephraim P. Smith, will
receive $285,000 this year, plus a $1,000-a-month vehicle allowance, the
trustees decided. (Source: San Luis Obispo Tribune, July 14.)
recommendation: As part of the annual budget process, the Legislature and
governor should take a close look at the salary structures of California's
taxpayer-funded schools, to determine how much money is being soaked up by
overly generous administrative salaries and perks instead of going into
classrooms to help students.
California Sends Work to Kansas.
entering the University of California system must demonstrate their writing
ability either by reaching certain scores on standardized tests or by passing
the Analytical Writing Placement Examination (AWPE). Before taking the AWPE, a
student must pay an examination fee currently $90 online or through the
mail. The prepaid envelope for sending payment has a return address of
"University of California AWPE; 3833 Greenway Drive; Lawrence, KS 66046-9900."
The building located at that Kansas address houses Scantron, the Education
Measurement Group and other affiliates of NCS Pearson Inc.
recommendation: State officials should examine why the University of California
is using a Kansas-based company to process payments for tests taken in
California and graded by UC faculty. If UC is using out-of-state companies
because the costs are higher here, steps should be taken to restore California's
competiveness by reducing the cost of doing business in this state.
Stockton School District
Asked to Repay Nearly $1 Million in Unapproved Spending.
The California Department of
Education is asking the Stockton Unified School District to return $962,000 that
was spent on unapproved classroom materials.
The request was made after
the Department of Education sent in auditors. According to school board members,
former Superintendent Anthony Amato was advised by district staff not to
purchase the materials in question for a program called "Success for All"
because the district would not be able to use them.
The "Success for All"
materials now reside in a district warehouse, gathering dust. Mr. Amato was
fired in September, and is now heading up a school in New Orleans. Mr. Amato
previously was let go from superintendent positions in New Orleans, Hartford and
School board members claim
they were kept in the dark about the questionable purchases. Beverly Fitch
McCarthy, the school board president, said: "It never occurred to us to say, 'Is
this on the approved list?' He's the superintendent. He should be knowledgeable.
He shouldn't even be bringing us these programs if they're not approved."
The chief financial officer
of the district said the district is facing a "bare-bones budget," and currently
is able to repay the state only $140,000. (Source: Mike Luery's On the
Money, CBS 13-Sacramento, July 7.)
School board members, as elected officials representing parents, students and
taxpayers, should be knowledgeable about how schools are spending the
hard-earned tax dollars of the district's residents. School board members should
take responsibility for the district's finances by asking the district's staff
how their funds are being spent. Cal-Tax applauds the Department of Education
for keeping local school districts accountable, and encourages the auditors to
continue investigating how tax dollars are used in other schools.)
San Jose College Leader
Worked Another Job While on Sick Leave.
The San Jose Mercury News reports: "A top executive at the financially
troubled San Jose/Evergreen Community College District earned a full salary
while on sick leave this spring yet, during that same period, she earned a
separate salary teaching at another nearby district."
Bayinaah Jones, whose title
at the San Jose district is executive director of institutional effectiveness,
earned $30,672 on sick leave there, but apparently was healthy enough to hold
down a $5,775 teaching position in the Foothill-DeAnza Community College
The revelation follows a
searing state audit of the San Jose district's books. Auditors were critical of
spending by former Chancellor Rosa Perez, who is Ms. Jones' live-in partner, and
who also took paid sick leave for eight months, earning $25,000 each month
until retiring this month due to health reasons.
Records show that Ms. Jones
took sick leave from her $123,000 position "per my physician's order," she
wrote in an e-mail message in April, May and June of this year. She said she
remains sick "until further notice."
During those same months, the
Mercury News reported, she commuted to a job teaching Introduction to
Sociology classes at DeAnza College, for three hours a night every Monday and
Wednesday during the spring quarter. In e-mails to the newspaper, both DeAnza
and San Jose/Evergreen confirmed Ms. Jones' employment. However, Ms. Jones told
the newspaper in an e-mail: "I do not have concurrent employment. Your
information is incorrect." She declined to explain further, and referred
questions to school officials who said they would not comment because the
situation involves confidential medical information.
The state Department of
Finance said the district's board is fiscally responsible for Ms. Jones'
The Mercury News noted
that budget cuts have resulted in the cancellation of classes and lay-offs of 19
workers last year. "They sacked several employees whose only crime was to remain
at their posts," said San Jose City College photography professor Ciaran
The situation involving Ms.
Jones "shows a complete lack of respect for taxpayers, students, faculties and
administrations of both districts," said Randi Kinman, a former San Jose
planning commissioner who now helps lead the nearby Sherman Oaks Neighborhood
Association. (Source: San Jose Mercury News, July 5.)
School officials should examine how their existing policies allowed this
situation to occur, and should make sure it doesn't happen again. They also
should thoroughly assess Ms. Jones' claims and take disciplinary steps if
Grand Jury Says Peralta
Community College District Is Wasting Tax Dollars.
A grand jury released a report July 7 slamming the Peralta Community College
District for lax oversight and wasting taxpayer dollars.
The district is marked by a
lack of transparency and accountability, the Alameda County civil grand jury
wrote in its annual report. Spending on travel and dining have run rampant in
the four-college district, jurors found, and trustees have shown little
responsibility in their oversight. (Cal-Tax: As reported on page 14, an
accrediting commission has put the district on probation because of fiscal
The grand jury's nine-month
investigation was prompted by a series of stories published by Bay Area News
Group in July 2009, the report noted.
The San Jose Mercury News
reported: "The jury specifically criticized Peralta trustees for their silence
on important issues. 'Their willingness to remain individually silent on
multiple issues, such as the chancellor's performance, has led the board to
questionable decision-making,' the jury concluded. 'The board as a whole has
failed to provide the leadership for the district to which they were elected.'"
transgressions were double-dipping on meals during trips (receiving a daily
stipend for food while also including the same meals on hotel bills), spending
hundreds of public dollars per month on home offices without adequate oversight
or documentation, and misusing the district's credit cards.
The district includes four
campuses: Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland, Berkeley City College and
College of Alameda. (Source: San Jose Mercury News, July 7.)
Voters should replace the school board with reformers who will take an active
interest in their duty to safeguard public funds and direct every available
penny to the classroom.
State Auditor Says School
District Used $451,000 Inappropriately.
The state auditor reported
June 15 that the San Dieguito Union High School District's (San Diego County)
has generally used its bond funds appropriately, but spent $451,000 for
The money was spent on
relocatable facilities that were used as administrative offices rather than as
classrooms, and for housing and demographic studies.
The auditor also stated that
"although the school district's responses to public requests for records usually
met legally mandated deadlines, deficiencies in the school district's records
often prevented us from determining whether the school district provided the
The spending involved money
generated by bonds that are repaid through a special tax levied on the owners of
property located within the district. (Source:
California State Audit Report 2009-116,
During Budget Crisis,
University of California Adds to Ranks of Highly Paid Senior Officials.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports: "It has been a period of austerity
at the University of California, with layoffs, across-the-board pay cuts and fee
hikes. Yet some UC employees earned significantly more money in 2009 than in
2008, with two more million-dollar earners added to the payroll, new salary data
show. The number of UC employees classified as 'senior officials' earning more
than $214,000 in total compensation rose 6.3 percent, to 3,184 from 2,996
people. Lucrative overtime pay also rose sharply. Employees earning more than
$10,000 in OT climbed 79 percent, to 2,733 from 1,531 employees."
The paper noted that UC's top
overtime earner, an operating room nurse at UC San Francisco Medical Center,
took in nearly $97,000, boosting her total compensation to more than $320,000.
The figures come from payroll data for 250,249 people paid by UC in calendar
year 2009, and from UC's new report on executive compensation. (Source: San
Francisco Chronicle, June 3.)
Clearly, operating room nurses are crucial employees who deserve fair
compensation, but massive overtime spending raises red flags about possible
management problems. State lawmakers should review the UC's pay and management
policies as they craft the new state budget.
Grand Jury Says San Diego
Schools Misspent $100,000.
The San Diego County grand jury has uncovered the misuse of $100,000 in student
funds within the San Diego Unified School District, and is recommending
heightened oversight and fraud detection.
The grand jury found that
Associated Student Body funds were used for a staff Christmas party at a magnet
school, and for staff mugs, polo shirts and other unauthorized expenses. The
panel also reported that some schools illegally charged student fees for
everything from band instruments to cheerleading uniforms for decades.
(Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, June 2.)
Cal-Tax recommendation: The
school district says it has already taken steps to correct some of the problems,
but residents should attend school board meetings and maintain pressure on
school officials to make sure they address the problems. Especially during times
of budget upheaval, school officials should do everything they can to make sure
money is going to vital classroom instruction for students, and is not being
squandered on perks for adults.
UC Planning to Cut $500
Million of Administrative Waste.
At a University of California
Board of Regents meeting on May 19 in San Francisco, university officials
presented a plan to cut administrative waste by $500 million. UC President Mark
Yudof said the university wastes money by being too decentralized.
A recent study commissioned
by UC Berkeley found that that campus alone could save $93 million to $135
million through operational efficiencies (see
Cal-Taxletter of April 16).
President Yudof said: "If we
can agree (to consolidate) some of those things we can save a lot of money and
put it back into students and faculty and staff, which is where it belongs in
the first place."
Nathan Brostrom, the
executive vice president for business operations, said: "It is imperative that
we re-examine now the way we operate both as a system and campuses."
Russell Gould, chair of the
Board of Regents and a former director of finance under Governor Pete Wilson,
said that this efficiency push is a top priority.
One area of potential savings
is purchasing, where UC spends $4 billion a year on supplies. UC Chief Financial
Officer Peter Taylor said that in the past, each campus ordered its own supplies
and from different suppliers. Centralization of some purchases can result in
lower prices. He said he has already saved $48 million in this area and believes
savings of an additional $100 million are possible. Citing another example of
savings, Mr. Taylor said he was shocked to find that almost every employee in
the UC's Office of the President had his or her own printer. Mr. Taylor said
that since he started work there, he has gotten rid of 400 printers, saving UC
$300,000 in ink, equipment and maintenance though that still leaves a staff of
700 with more than 200 printers, or one printer for every three or four workers.
(Cal-Tax has been calling for
the elimination of waste as a top priority and recently published an expansive
report on waste and fraud.)
(Sources: University of California Press Release, May 19,
The Sacramento Bee,
Students Shut Out of
College Aid Due to School District's Error.
The Ventura County Star
reports: "Some Oxnard Union High School District seniors did not receive state
grants in their college financial aid packages because the district provided
incorrect graduation dates for them. As many as 1,500 students might have been
affected, officials said. The mistake is being fixed, but at least one student
said it led her to turn down her dream school for one that would be less
Adding insult to injury, the
newspaper reported that the error was discovered at Pacifica High School in
April, but the school district did not act quickly once it was informed of the
error by Pacifica's principal. The error wasn't addressed by the district until
after May 1, when students nationwide must tell colleges that accepted them
whether they are planning to enroll.
The mistake happened when a
worker put 2008, instead of 2010, as the graduation date for this year's seniors
on forms sent to the California Student Aid Commission. That made those students
ineligible for Cal Grants, which the commission distributes, said Martha Mutz,
the district's assistant superintendent for educational services.
Cal Grants provide up to
$4,026 a year for a California State University campus, $7,788 for the
University of California and $9,708 for private universities. The grants are
provided on a sliding scale, but they generally go to lower-income students.
The Student Aid Commission
has assigned three people to re-enter information for the approximately 1,500
students affected, said Tae Kang, Cal Grant operations manager. Mr. Kang added,
"We get mistakes like this every year, but not usually of this magnitude."
Some schools have announced
that they are open to appeals from students who turned down acceptance offers
due to financial worries caused by the error. (Source: Ventura County Star,
Cal-Tax recommendation: This
is the same district that last week was ordered by a jury to pay $5,700 in
damages to the family of an autistic student whose lunch money was stolen on a
daily basis by a teacher's aide. Clearly, the district needs to improve its
oversight of staff, before any more students are robbed of lunch money or the
opportunity for financial aid.
Consultants Find Millions
of Potential Savings at UC Berkeley.
The University of
California's Berkeley campus could save $93 million to $135 million with
operational efficiencies, according to a new report by Bain and Company, a
consulting firm hired to find waste. The report urges university officials to
make an effort "to capture at least $75 million in annual operational cost
There are five big areas of
what the San Francisco Chronicle refers to as "bloat." They are:
sees savings of $40 million to $55 million by reducing management overstaffing.
"The university has many layers (11) and relatively narrow spans of supervisory
controls (average of 4.4)," the report states. In fact, 55 percent of
supervisors have three or fewer direct reports.
Fragmented purchasing is undermining campus buying power. There is a lack of
standards for commonly purchased goods, and spending is fragmented across
thousands of vendors 75 percent more vendors per dollar than at benchmark
institutions. The consultants estimate potential savings of $25 million to $40
million in this category.
Productivity Varies Significantly and Programs Overlap.
The consultant believes $15
million to $25 million in potential savings are possible by reforming the $220
million spent on student services. Productivity varies significantly, and more
than 50 different services are offered with instances of overlapping programs
and functions across differing units.
The campus spends $130 million on information technology and there are savings
of $10 million to $16 million possible in this area. There are few standards,
and procurement leads to increased costs. IT staff and decisions are
decentralized, causing higher institutional cost and risk.
Energy Consumption Above
Average. A big
surprise is that at a campus where environmental issues are stressed, energy
consumption is not systematically measured and managed. Consumption is slightly
above average compared to other California universities. A potential savings of
$3 million to $4 million can be achieved in this area.
Berkeley Vice Chancellor
Frank Yeary said: "We will get push-back in certain quarters. But the fact that
the state has so consistently disinvested in our organization
really appreciate the need to change."
Professor Chris Kutz, chair
of the Faculty Senate, said, "We've been a very decentralized, sluggish
bureaucracy for a long time."
Liza Kemish, statewide vice
president of the University Professional and Technical Employees Union, said, "I
imagine we'll want to talk with each other and develop a coordinated plan to
fight back." (Sources: Report by Bain and Company, "Achieving Operational
Excellence at University of California, Berkeley," and San Francisco
Chronicle, April 13.)
The public should be outraged that it has taken a budget crisis to force the
university to operate efficiently. The university should be doing this as a
steward of taxpayer dollars. It also is upsetting that public employee unions
fight efforts to eliminate waste. We recommend that the state push for
follow-through on the problems identified in this report, and that other
campuses be examined, as well. It is more likely than not that similar studies
at other UC campuses would turn up waste of a similar magnitude.
Millions on Error-Filled Math Textbooks.
If you are an elementary
school student in the Sacramento Unified or Folsom-Cordova Unified school
districts, your new math textbook instructs you that "3 x 5 = 5." That's not the
only mistake fourth-grade students have documented 90 errors in the books.
The two districts spent $1.9
million combined on the new math books. It is likely that many other districts
in California also have wasted hard-earned taxpayer dollars on the books.
Teachers also are weighing
in. A teacher in Sacramento Unified said the district had a wonderful program
with Saxon Math and replaced it with an inadequate one. (Source: The
Sacramento Bee, April 1, but not an April Fools' Day joke.)
Schools are trying to blame the publisher, but someone in the school
districts should take some responsibility for thoroughly checking a textbook
before spending $1.9 million on it. If the districts had done their homework,
they could have refrained from purchasing the books with the errors, and could
have purchased another series. On a more fundamental basis, when schools are
strapped for money and cutting important instructional programs, why buy new
books? Schools should make the old books last a year or two longer, especially
in a subject like elementary school math, which does not change much from year
School Superintendent Gets
Huge Payment to Leave One District, Then Gets Hired by Another District and
Leads it to Failure.
The State Board of Education recently made history by taking over two school
districts for academic and leadership failures. The story of how one of the
districts arrived at this embarrassing juncture is a textbook example of
mismanagement in the public education system.
The district is the Alisal
Union School District in Salinas. The superintendent of the district is
Esperanza Zendejas, who formerly was superintendent of the East Side Union High
School District in San Jose.
Ms. Zendejas was forced out
of the San Jose district in 2005, after two years on the job, and was given a
$337,000 severance deal. Her hand-picked personnel director succeeded her, until
he recently was forced out over allegations of what the San Jose Mercury News
described as "financial shenanigans."
After getting the massive
severance deal, Ms. Zendejas joined the Salinas area district, where her job
performance again led district officials to seek her ouster. The Alisal board
asked her to resign, but she refused. The board got her to leave, but only by
rehiring her as a $14,000-a-month "consultant." While paying this generous sum,
the district also hired an interim superintendent for $168,000 a year.
Now, the State Board of
Education has sent a trustee to take over the district, with the agency citing
the school district's failure to progress toward educational standards. The
state board also said the district's leaders have problems "managing adult
relationships." (Source: San Jose Mercury News, April 4.)
School boards should do a better job of hiring superintendents, and should not
offer severance deals that waste taxpayers' money.
Sacramento School District
Hires Six-Figure Spokesman While Teachers Get Pink Slips.
The Sacramento City Unified
School District recently handed out 738 pink slips to teachers, notifying them
of the possibility of being laid off later this year, but that didn't stop the
district from hiring a new spokesman for $114,178 per year.
Former Sacramento River Cats
spokesman Gabe Ross will fill the newly created "chief communication officer"
position. Former school spokeswoman Maria Lopez left the district last week to
take a job as a communication associate for the California Department of
Education, which is having budget problems of its own.
In an unintentionally ironic
statement, Mr. Ross said, "It's a time of great need in the district, and I am
looking forward to bringing my experience and expertise to schools when we
desperately need all the resources possible." (Source: The Sacramento Bee,
March 14 and March 17.)
Schools should examine their priorities and focus on their primary duty
educating students. In a time of budget shortfalls, keeping dollars in the
classroom should be a higher priority than hiring a six-figure public relations
expert to put out press releases saying more money is needed.)
Teachers Union Sues to
Get School District to Pay Teacher for Five Days at Family Reunion.
The Folsom-Cordova Teachers
Union wants taxpayers to pay for the five days that teacher Edith Hiatt took off
work to attend a family reunion. Claiming the union's bargained contract with
the school district requires Ms. Hiatt to be paid, the union filed suit in
Sacramento Superior Court in January.
Mark Schultz, president of
the teachers' union, said, "We have a contract and we feel it should be
Steven Nichols, a district
spokesman, said: "We don't want teachers to go on vacation in the school year,
during instructional time. It's an additional cost we cannot afford to spend,
especially right now."
(Cal-Tax: However, the
issue is not that clear-cut. Most school boards have caved in to teachers
unions, and now give time off with pay for "personal necessity," usually
amounting to five to 10 days a year. Considering that teachers get ample
vacations over summer, two weeks off at Christmas, a week at spring break and
Easter, as well as sick leave, allowing additional time off for "personal
necessity" is a big boondoggle. The issue in this case is whether attendance at
a family reunion is a "personal necessity.") (Source: The Sacramento Bee,
School boards should not expand the opportunities for teachers to get full pay
for not teaching. This is the hidden underbelly of school finance when schools
are promoting additional taxes and students are demonstrating around the state,
this benefit and many others like it should be mentioned as areas where savings
Paper Calls for Cutting
"Explosive" Growth in UC Senior Management.
The University of California
needs to slow the "explosive growth in senior management," The
Sacramento Bee said in a February 28 editorial. According to the paper,
senior management has grown 97 percent in the past 10 years, while student
growth has been 40 percent and the growth in faculty has been 23 percent in the
same time period.
Put another way, the
university now has about as many senior administrators as faculty (8,470 senior
administrators vs. 8,851 faculty). If the number of senior administrators had
grown by the same percentage as faculty over the last 10 years, the savings
would be about $300 million a year.
Administrators typically are
the highest paid people on campuses, The Bee noted, as most earn
over $100,000 a year plus generous benefits. (Source: The Sacramento Bee,
State Still Spends Heavily
on Travel, Conferences and New Vehicles.
The Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee reports that
state agencies spent heavily last year on items that may not have been
necessary, despite state budget problems that were widely viewed as being
The committee found that
during the brief three-month period of January to March 2009, the following
The Department of Education
spent $945,209 and the Department of Consumer Affairs spent $245,430 on
conferences and outside meetings;
The Department of Motor
Vehicles spent $1.73 million on new furniture, while the California Air
Resources Board spent $433,000 on new furnishings, the Department of General
Services spent $785,785, and the Health and Human Services Agency spent
New vehicles were purchased
by the Department of Transportation ($10.4 million), the department of Forestry
and Fire ($1.6 million), the Department of Motor Vehicles ($900,000) and the
Department of Parks and Recreation ($5.2 million).
Accountability and Administrative Review Committee report, February 10.)
(Cal-Tax recommendation: When
drafting this year's state budget, the Legislature and governor should eliminate
spending for new furniture and new vehicles that are not absolutely necessary,
such as for emergency response purposes. These are tough times for taxpayers,
and they shouldn't have to pay for non-necessities for government while they are
cutting their own family budgets to the bone.)
Audit Finds $200 Million
Payroll Mess in Los Angeles Unified.
Auditors in Los Angeles reported that school officials paid out $200 million
more in salaries in 2009 than the district had originally budgeted. Despite
large layoffs and unfilled positions, Los Angeles Unified spent $4.9 billion in
2009. City Auditor Wendy Greul said there was no evidence of wrongdoing, but
auditors were unable to determine how $200 million of the money was spent.
(Source: Los Angeles Daily News, January 14.)
Obviously, more oversight is required. In the meantime, further investigation is
needed to determine how $200 million went missing.)
Community College Trustee
Spends Almost $30,000 on Travel.
John Williams, a trustee of the South Orange County Community College District,
is a travelin' man. Mr. Williams spent $29,578 in tax dollars traveling to
conferences and meetings from July 2007 through December 2009, the OC
Watchdog blog reports. The blog notes: "That's more than four times as much
as any of the other trustees. Four of the six trustees have spent less than
$1,000 over the same period."
Mr. Williams said the travel
is necessary to represent the district's interests such as by trying to keep
the state from raiding the district's budget and to keep up on changes that
impact the colleges' technology courses.
In addition to paying for
travel, the district spent $12,184 on catering during board meetings over the
past 2 ½ years, and spends nearly $18,000 per trustee for health benefits (even
though the positions are part-time posts with stipends of $4,800 per year).
(Source: OC Watchdog, January 20.)
While it's possible that Mr. Williams has brought some useful information back
to the community colleges after his voyages, we wonder if any economic analysis
has been done to determine the cost-benefit ratio. Also, it does not make sense
to continue spending tax dollars on conferences while community colleges are
struggling to offer courses.)
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