California Government Code section 8314 and the California Constitution Article XVI, section 6 prohibit the gift of public funds to any individual, corporation, or another government agency. Expenditures of school funds must be for a direct and primary public purpose to avoid being a gift. According to the California Constitution, Article XVI, “In determining whether an appropriation of public funds or property is to be considered a gift, the primary question is whether the funds are to be used for a ‘public’ or a ‘private’ purpose.”
From 7/2014 – 7/2016, Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz hosted at District expense frequent lunches in the local area for her staff and labor union members. These expenditures are unnecessary and excessive, as business could be conducted on-site. Could they could be considered a “gift of public funds”?
- The Superintendent dined guests (mostly staff) a total of 37 times at local restaurants for lunch. For these meals, the Superintendent charged the District $2,670, mostly dining at BJ’s Restaurant ($1,555) and Fontana’s Italian ($900). Expenditures lacked itemized receipts for 22 of the meals (60%) and nearly always exceeded authorized per diem rates. One meal on 1/16/15 was expensed twice – once on the District credit card, and the second time via an expense report submitted by the Superintendent. For five transactions, the receipt did not match the credit card statement. [More details here]