Nevada County board of education approves response to grand jury report
The Nevada County Board of Education on Wednesday approved a response to a grand jury report that criticized the board’s transparency toward credit card expenses.
The grand jury report, released on June 26, found the Nevada County Office of Education lacked financial oversight on spending, and did not have clear policies to regulate employee spending on office-issued credit cards.
In its letter, the board disagreed with the majority of the grand jury report, stating that its office “has an existing written policy that adequately defines allowable expenses” and “excessive spending.”
“The board is satisfied with its level of oversight over the Superintendent’s credit charges and reimbursements,” the letter states. “The board has no concerns about inappropriate and excessive spending using a commercial credit card.”
The board’s letter does agree with the grand jury’s suggestion that the public would benefit from having electronic access to the Nevada County Office of Education Policy.
“We are finalizing some changes in the written policies, with more specific, detailed procedures,” Hermansen told the board, adding that will be completed within the month.
“We agree our policies can be improved, and updated — we were already in that process, to completely redo all the policies … for reimbursements and expense allowances and travel,” she said. “And that will be available on our website.”
Hermansen also discussed the report’s criticism of inappropriate spending by explaining that most of that had to do with her position as chair of a 10-county board of school superintendents. She said she has coordinated dinner meetings for which the budget flows through her office. The dinners, which often ran $700-800, were paid for by dues and her office was reimbursed for those expenses, she said.
“I explained all this to the grand jury several times, but it still ended up on the list of excessive spending,” Hermansen said.
During public comment, Nancy Peirce said that it did not appear the grand jury received backup documentation of those reimbursements,
Hermansen said she was not asked to provide it, but that she believes it was supplied.
“Well, is the grand jury all whacked out or what?” Peirce asked rhetorically, with Hermansen answering in the affirmative.
“We have backup for every expense that we have,” Hermansen added.
After more questioning, she advised audience members that if they wanted to see that documentation, she would provide it.
“It’s public record,” Hermansen said. “We just need to know what it is you want to see, exactly.”
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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