Supervisor Traveling like Foreign Dignitaries
Taxpayers should be shocked at the number of travel reimbursement requests by our current Board of Supervisors, many of the reimbursement requests are for highly questionable trips that are a real stretch of the imagination to call “County Business.” It’s become questionable as to whether these trips are necessary related to their supervisor jobs or merely vacations disguised as county business. Our local County Supervisors seem to travel more like foreign dignitaries or company CEO’s when most of our county’s business is local.
Norma Santiago is probably the worst and most flagrant violator, for the year 2012-2013 she had $12,755.99 in County reimbursed travel expenses. Many of her travel reimbursement requests look more like excuses for taxpayer paid vacations. According to the Lake Tahoe News, a paper from her home town of South Lake Tahoe, she is deficient in reporting her Form 700 money received, something the D.A.filed charges against Ray Nutting for. After just going to Washington D.C. in 2012, she is now requesting $2,000.00 again to go on the Cap-to-Cap Trip via the taxpayers. Santiago’s previous 2012 Cap-to-Cap trip cost taxpayer’s $4,104.10.
Second runner up was Ron Mikulaco who had $1,509.33 travel expenses in 2012-2013, but rising fast on his tail is Brian Veerkamp who receives $200,000 per year in a firefighter’s pension from taxpayers, but thought it prudent to attend a $1,600.00 California Public Employers Labor Relations Association conference in Monterrey in November so he could attend those sessions related to “pension reform” and “fireman collective bargaining.” Shouldn’t the County’s Human Resources Director have attended this conference? A month later in December, Veerkamp sought $250.00 so he could tag along at his wife’s California School Board Association (CSBA) conference in San Diego. What did the County get out of it Brian? Veerkamp is now requesting $2,000.00 to attend the Cap-to-Cap trip to Washington D.C. Yes Brian, you didn’t take a Supervisor’s salary, but you are most certainly attempting to make up for it with as much travel reimbursement spending as possible.
The current annual MetroChamber Washington D.C. Capital-to-Capital trip appears to be yet another excuse for Veerkamp and Santiago to make a request of taxpayers to fund their vacation/travel. The question becomes, what are the taxpayers getting out of it?
The notion that our local out of touch Supervisors are rubbing elbows with those in D.C. who hold a 13% public approval rating speaks volumes. To believe these Supervisors are going to go to D.C. and might come back with fist-fulls of Federal spending dollars in our County is just wishful thinking, as lately they seem to struggle to understand the simplest concepts set before them and put off pressing local needs.
Anyone who watches the current Board in action has come to question the self-serving, arrogant, ignorant and fast wielding decision making of our Supervisors who seem blatantly intent on ignoring their local county residents and constituents while cramming through as much objectionable items on the weekly consent calendar without allowing the public to comment. Embracing Global Warming legislation, embracing Agenda 21, and ignoring many local pressing issues such as the homeless camp situation while jetting off to fancy places on the taxpayer’s dime.
Perhaps they are Foreign Dignitaries after all, due to the inordinate amount of time they are spending traveling out of the County instead of tending to local business here at home. They should be embarrassed.