Bill Introduced to Require Accountability from Local Agency Associations

For immediate release:

(Sacramento) –  After several reports of inappropriate behavior at events sponsored by the California Contract Cities Association, Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced legislation that will provide accountability and transparency of taxpayer dollars that flow to associations of local agencies or districts.

“Taxpayers expect their money to be used responsibly and there to be transparency, at the state level and in their local governments. This should extend to these local government lobbying organizations.” Continues Garcia, “These groups are extensions of governments and therefore taxpayers themselves – who don’t expect governmental activities to result in drunken brawls and mismanagement of funds.”

This incident with the mismanagement of funds and inappropriate behavior at the Contract Cities event is not unique. Several years ago, the Executive Director of the California School Boards Association (CSBA) resigned from his position after it was reported that he used a CSBA-issued credit card to get $11,000 in cash from area casinos. Current law does not require financial oversight of these agencies, which could potentially allow taxpayer dollars to be funneled to personal bank accounts or to throw extravagant parties in lavish hotels.

“For local governments and school boards to be bankrolling parties and padding personal bank accounts is a slap in the face to California’s residents, who are often working class and struggling to make ends meet,” continued Garcia.

AB 2452 will expand on Assembly Bill 187 (Lara, 2011), which established the High-Risk Local Government Agency program within the State Auditor’s office to allow audits on local government associations that receive taxpayer dollars to operate.

Currently, the state does not have any direct oversight of the use of taxpayer dollars in local government associations. Should this legislation pass, the State Auditor would have the ability to identify waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement.

“I look forward to working with all stakeholders to create good government and the responsible use of our taxpayer dollars for California’s residents,” said Garcia.

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Contact: Ashley Labar, (916) 319-2058