Fifteen-hundred-dollar hotel bills for two-night and three-day conferences in Long Beach — $1,500! That is the latest gem I have uncovered on the Council expense reports and credit card statements.
Citing a $2.6 million budget shortfall, the Apple Valley Town Council unanimously approved reductions in employee compensation and benefits last week. However, that only produces $455,000 in savings and Town Manager Doug Robertson is hinting at cuts in services to make up the rest.
What is so fascinating is that in 2018 it is so easy and relatively painless for local governments to be transparent and accountable to the taxpayers. For example, take my recent investigation into the expense reports and credit card statements of each Apple Valley Council member.
Some Review readers may recall the 1993 comedy “Groundhog Day” featuring legendary comedian Bill Murray. Murray plays a weatherman assigned to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
“Boeing” Barb Stanton loves to fly on the taxpayers’ dime. Since the beginning of 2015, it appears she has flown on at least 21 trips at a cost of approximately $7,500 on airfare and related fees.
Mayor Art Bishop used a town credit card to pay for his wife’s airline ticket based on credit card statements recently provided to me by town officials. Bishop claims he reimbursed the town (the town had four days to confirm the reimbursement, but so far, all I hear are crickets), but why is it the town’s responsibility to pay upfront for a spouse’s trip. These trainings are supposed to be business trips, right?
I read with interest with the article “Town clears hurdle with ruling” by Matthew Cabe, February 23, 2018. I have also read the actual California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) decision issued by Judge Donald Alvarez. Apparently, the mayor and others at the Town have not. The mayor says, “I had complete confidence that the town staff and attorney had properly prepared the documents back in 2015,” which statement is utterly ridiculous in view the Judge’s express statement in his written decision that “The Court will not consider Petitioner’s (Liberty) arguments directed to whether the EIR [Environmental Impact Report] complied with CEQA.” The actual decision did not address the documents and their deficiencies, at all. The decision had nothing to do — zero — with the proper preparation of documents.
Apple Valley incorporated in 1988. Our privately-held water company, on the other hand, has provided us water since 1945. And while Apple Valley has its share of problems, no knowledgeable person can honestly say that water delivery, water quality, or water prices are among them.
Over the last few weeks, I have been examining the credit card statements of our Town Council members. And in the upcoming weeks, I am going to share with you some of the things that have caught my eye.