Skip to comments.CA: Audit finds questionable spending by Schwarzenegger aide (Education Secretary Alan Bersin)
Posted on 04/01/2006 12:40:55 PM PST by NormsRevenge
Auditors found questionable spending by state Education Secretary Alan Bersin when he was superintendent of schools in San Diego.
The audit, conducted for the San Diego Unified School District by a law firm, Loeb & Loeb, looked at Bersin's handling of more than $630,000 in tax-deductible donations made by individuals and corporations to an education innovation fund.
The audit said Bersin spent the money as he wanted, often reimbursing himself for personal and business expenses. There were also undocumented reimbursements and possible double-billings, auditors said.
School district officials have forwarded the audit to the state attorney general, Fair Political Practices Commission and Internal Revenue Service to determine if any laws were broken.
Bersin said the audit was a waste of taxpayer's money and an attempt by his critics to derail his nomination to the state Board of Education. There was no improper spending, he added.
"I've said all along, it's a waste of taxpayer funds in pursuit of a political vendetta," Bersin told the Sacramento Bee. "I'm confident the review of records will establish there's nothing to it. This is a witch hunt."
But Dick Van Der Laan, a spokesman for the San Diego school district, said the audit dealt with "serious questions" about Bersin's handling of the fund and wasn't motivated by politics.
"With all the scandals that have erupted in public and private sectors in recent years, we realize great care must be taken that funds are spent wisely and in adherence to state and federal reporting requirements," Van Der Laan said.
The audit found instances in which Bersin charged the fund and the school district for meals at the same restaurant on the same day. He also charged the fund twice for meals in San Diego when travel documents indicated he was on the East Coast, according to the audit.
Auditors also said that Bersin paid $42,500 to consultants and other people from the fund "without details or scope of the work performed."
Bersin spent seven years as San Diego's superintendent until Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him state education secretary last year. The governor has also appointed Bersin to the state Board of Education.
A Senate confirmation hearing on the Board of Education appointment is scheduled for April 19.
This sounds similar to the scheme that sunk Insurance Commish Chuck Quackenbush a few years back.
This sounds so familiar.
In commentary I read yesterday or the day before, it was speculated that the reason Arnold appointed the La Raza socialist, Joe Nunez, to the board was to grease the skids to get CFR globalist Alan Bersin confirmed. I wish I could remember the source. The bottom line was that Bersin wasn't worth the trade-off. Now, he may end up without Bersin and be stuck with Union thug Nunez anyway. Another opportunity lost--or two!.
Certainly the most intreguing news in California politics surrounds Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's reappointment of Joe Nuñez to the State Board of Education earlier this week. You see, Nuñez is a State VP with the California Teachers Association -- and according to the CTA's President Barbara Kerr, Nuñez is actually in charge of their union's legislative and political activities. Yes, this would include the massive assault on Governor Schwarzenegger and his reform agenda on last year's special election ballot. Even better -- Nuñez is actually the Chairman of the Alliance for a Better California, which is the actual front-group formed by the unions to fight the Governor.
It has been postulated in at least one newspaper that Schwarzenegger may have re-appointed Nuñez in order to shepherd through the confirmation vote on his former State Education Secretary Alan Bersin, whom Schwarzenegger also appointed to the State Board of Education last year. Once appointed, you can serve up to a year without Senate confirmation, which Bersin has yet to get. As a matter of fact, his one-year is coming up soon.
I don't know if this theory is correct, it might explain a little about Nuñez's re-appointment. But COME ON. The idea of extending the time that a union boss who wants to perpetuate the problems that we have in California's education system has to serve on the state's education board is atrocious. The Governor should withdraw this appointment immediately. Frankly, Bersin's appointment isn't worth it. Apparently it takes a 2/3 vote of the State Senate to confirm members of the State Education Board. The Governor should appoint real education reform advocates like Lance Izumi or Gloria Matta Tuchman.
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