In a headlining story posted by the San Diego Union-Tribune today, Sweetwater School Board President John McCann has finally stood up for South Bay taxpayers, and has cancelled Superintendent Jesus Gandara’s taxpayer-funded credit card.
As reported by the U-T, Gandara has racked up nearly $31,000 in charges to the card which include $11,500 on meals alone. On top of the exorbitant $250,000 salary he receives, his contract allows for an allocation of $750/month auto allowance, and an $800/month expense account with — get this — no required documentation.
Really? So, taxpayers are paying this guy’s salary AND extra goodies, and he gets an extra $800/month ($9,600/year) to spend on whatever he wants to… with NO documentation! He could be buying drugs, porn, strippers, or tickets to Charlie Sheen’s cross-country tour, and taxpayers have no idea!
Where’s the outrage? Where’s the questioning? Where’s the beef? We know he spends $11,500 on food.
For as much kudos to McCann as I would like to give, I must be fair. Although McCann is in his first-term and has been president of the Sweetwater school district for just 4 months, some of these charges have even occurred under his watch. If the U-T had not uncovered this story, who would have brought it to light? And would this still be going on?
It should be noted that McCann’s predecessor as board president, Democrat Arlie Ricasa, failed to act on this last year.
Ricasa apologists will probably comment, after I post this story, something to the effect of “If McCann didn’t know, how could Arlie… you’re being unfair… et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…” On that note in all fairness, I will mention a U-T article from back in January where Ricasa was quoted as saying, “As board chair, I oversee the organization, but I’m not dealing with the day-to-day details.” Yes, that quote was in reference to allegations about the MAAC Project non-profit she oversees but — based on that quote — we could say that as Sweetwater School board president she wasn’t involved with the day-to-day details. Meh. Mea culpa.
In regards to the outrage against Jesus Gandara, I offer a plea to John McCann. I know he’s the new guy on the board and, as president, he’s working to balance the budget without having to layoff teachers. Mr. McCann, forget giving pink slips to teachers, and hand one to Jesus Gandara instead.
UPDATE: If anyone is interested in attending the next Sweetwater school board meeting, it’s at 6:30pm on Tuesday, April 19th 12th at the district headquarters in Chula Vista.
the board meeting is April 12th
Actually, paying this reprobate expense money without documentation may be the way to go – IF they follow my advice! Two steps for the job:
1. Cut the salary x%. Start perhaps at 50% of the present level, and let the Dutch auction begin.
2. Arrange the salary as two components:
A. Salary — $2,000 a month
B. Expenses — whatever the balance of his cash compensation is to be.
The advantage? Only the $24,000 would be “pensionable.” The rest of his compensation would not. The taxpayer savings could be well above $10,000 JUST FOR THIS ONE EMPLOYEE.
And assuming that the receiving dufus didn’t bother to keep job related expense documentation, come tax time that expense money would be taxable to the recipient.
Perhaps the IRS would complain (this is shaky stuff), but taxpayers would be the beneficiaries.
You assume that McCann has 2 more votes to fire Gandara. I would argue that Cartmill, Ricasa and Quinones would all vote to keep Gandara, leaving McCann on the losing end. It’s not as easy as one thinks to oust the good Doctor.