New procurement card policies are being implemented at City Hall this week. That’s a good start and something to be cautiously optimistic about.
Until such changes extend to the merits of things like conferences and travel, any such reform will be of limited value because it’s all interrelated. Employees from all departments have had a reputation of being sent to conferences, staying for a couple hours, then skipping out on the rest to play tourist, play golf, or be entertained. Some have joked about these trips being “paycations” — as in the City pays them to go on vacation.
CalNENA is the California chapter of the National Emergency Number Association, a trade organization for 911 dispatchers. Without any consideration for the City’s bleak financial outlook, or the value of such a trip, the Police Department sent two dispatchers to the annual conference in San Diego. That shouldn’t be too expensive, right?
$1,467 for hotel rooms and parking, $1,200 for conference registration, $93.84 for mileage reimbursement, and probably $4,000 to 6,000 in wages, benefits, and potential overtime paid out to other employees to cover their absences. Their union agreement has a provision that considers it a full workweek if they attend training for 3+ consecutive days. I assume that provision applies here.
Ballpark cost of attending = $6,500 to 8,500. So what did the City of Fullerton gain from this trip? You tell me…