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CALIFORNIA WORKERS wasted state funds, audit says – SF Chronicle

August 26, 2011

California workers wasted state funds, audit says

Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer

Friday, August 26, 2011

An auditor’s report revealed the latest ways California public employees have squandered thousands of taxpayer dollars – starting with the state Mental Health Department executive who contended that attending the Golden Globe Awards and a Julio Iglesias concert was essential to his job.

It wasn’t, State Auditor Elaine Howle said, and the cost to taxpayers for the executive’s celebrity schmoozing and other activities in 2009, the year she examined, was $51,244. The employee has since left state government.

That’s just one of “seven particularly significant investigations” Howle summarized Thursday in a 64-page report documenting the “waste of state funds, misuse of state resources, falsification of records, inexcusable neglect of duty and failure to monitor time reporting.”

Whistle-blower reports

Inspired by whistle-blower reports, the auditor undertook the investigations, sometimes with other state agencies, between July 1, 2010, and March 31. The violators were unnamed. The report also updated previous investigations and described changes state agencies have since implemented – or failed to implement.

While the monetary impact in most of these cases was in the tens of thousands of dollars – a pittance compared with the state’s $86 billion general fund – the significance was symbolically powerful at time of massive budget cuts at all levels of government.

It is particularly galling to see waste of any taxpayer dollars at a time when California’s public universities and community colleges are cutting classes and raising fees after losing $1.3 billion in state funding, analysts say.

via California workers wasted state funds, audit says.

  1. August 26, 2011 2:39 PM

    University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau, a state employee, continues to waste state funding. University of California Berkeley (Cal) picks the pockets of Californian students and their parents clean. UC Berkeley shouldn’t come to the Governor or public for support. (The author has 35 years’ consulting experience, has taught at Cal where he observed the culture, way senior management work)

    University of California Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau ($500,000 salary) has forgotten that he is a public servant, steward of the public money, not overseer of his own fiefdom. These are not isolated examples: Cal tuition, fee increases exceed national average rate of increase; recruits (using California tax $) out of state $50,600 students who displace qualified Californians from Cal; spends $7,000,000 + for consultants to do his senior management work (prominent East Coast university accomplishing same 0 cost); pays ex Michigan governor $300,000 for lectures; in procuring $3,000,000 consulting firm he failed to receive proposals from others; Latino enrollment drops while out of state jumps 2010 (M Krupnick Contra Costa Times); ranked # 70 USA best universities Forbes; tuition to Return on Investment drops below top 10; QS academic ranking falls below top 10; only 50 attend Birgeneau all employees meeting; visits down 20%; absence Cal. senior management control NCAA places basketball program on probation.
    It’s all shameful. There is no justification for violations by a steward of the public trust. Absolutely none.
    Governor Brown, UC Board of Regents Chair Lansing must vigorously enforce stringent oversight over Chancellor Birgeneau who uses Cal. as his fiefdom.

    Email opinion to

  2. Milan Moravec permalink
    September 3, 2011 5:34 PM

    “Every qualified student should get a place in the college/university system.” That’s a desirable goal for a public university. However, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau displaces qualified Californians with $50,600 foreign and out-of-state students.

    UC tuition increases exceed the national average rate of increase. The University of California Board of Regents jeopardizes Californians attending higher education by making UC the most expensive public university in the United States.

    Self-serving tuition increases are used by UC President Mark Yudof to increase the pay of 80,000 eligible faculty and others. Payoffs like these point to higher operating costs and still higher tuition for Californians.

    I agree that faculty in higher education and senior management, like Yudof and Birgeneau, should consider the students’ welfare and put it high on their values.

    Deeds unfortunately do not bear out the students’ welfare values of senior management and the UC Board of Regents.

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