Two county employees from the Child Support Department won’t go to Niagara Falls at taxpayer expense for information county officials said would provide them with little benefit.
The Colusa County Board of Supervisors last week denied the department’s request for $6,500 for the office manager and a case worker to go to New York for the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support Association Conference, a five-day junket in May, in Niagara Falls.
Supervisor Merced Corona pulled the request off the consent agenda – typically reserved for routine matters and approved without discussion – at the board’s March 5 meeting.
Corona said all requests for out-of-state travel should receive more scrutiny.
The Board at their March 19 meeting did approve a request for the District Attorney investigator to travel to Alabama for training provided by the FBI, which they deemed appropriate.
Funding for the FBI trip comes from the federal government for training that only takes place at that location, officials said.
The Niagara Falls trip, however, died on the dais after the board learned that the conference intended for eastern states to learn current and best child support practices in order to ensure effective implementation of laws would have no real application here.
“California has a different set of laws,” said Natalie Dillon, Yolo County Child Support director, who the board approved to serve as Interim Child Support Director pending regionalization of child support services with Sutter and Yolo County.
Dillon replaces Director John Contreras, who is resigning effective March 30.
Although Dillon agreed the trip would be an amazing opportunity for staff to see how other states operate, most staff prefer local training where what they learn is applicable to their work.
“I will be sending my staff to the California training,” said Dillon, who will also attend the west coast training in Spokane, Wash.
Taxpayers and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association have long criticized government employees and politicians for taking unnecessary pilgrimages to popular vacation spots when money could be better spent elsewhere.
Supervisor Corona said he had at least 10 calls from his constituents about the Niagara Falls trip.
“It’s hard for people to swallow when they are paying more taxes for this and for that – and we are sending people all the way to New York for a conference,” Corona said. “It is hard for the general public to understand.”
The trip to New York was to be funded from $13,000 in additional allocations from the State of California.
Any unused funds from the allocation will be returned to state coffers, officials said. ■