Citizen's Seek To Rebuke Elk Grove Council Member Sophia Scherman's Mileage Reimbursement Request

Comes as a result of repeated late submission of mileage reimbursement by Scherman; see story below Letter from EGCAPP Dear Mayor Hume, Cou...

Comes as a result of repeated late submission of mileage reimbursement by Scherman; see story below

Letter from EGCAPP

Dear Mayor Hume, Council members Davis, Detrick and Cooper:

Copy to Elk Grove City Clerk Susan Blackston with an official request to pull Consent Item 6.5 for discussion and public comment.

On behalf of EGCAPP, we hereby request that Consent Item 6.5 be pulled from the Consent Calendar at the October 14th Elk Grove City Council meeting and we officially request all of you vote "No" on this item. Reason is simple: Either the rules apply to everyone or they don't.

Also by voting on this current resolution (which, by the way, has no number to reference in the future), all four of you are hereby admitting that all of the reimbursements that Vice Mayor Sophia Scherman has turned in late are, in fact, in violation of Resolution 2006-295. Do you realize the implications here? All four of you received previous emails telling you exactly what was going to occur. Please do not look the other way here!

Ms. Scherman's current expenses are for July, 2009. Where is Ms. Scherman's August, 2009 reimbursement? That one is not in compliance either. Is another resolution on the way?

And by the mere fact that a resolution has to be passed means that you made the case for us that Ms. Scherman violated not only Government Code Section 53232, but also the city of Elk Grove's Resolution 2006-295. And at the last council meeting, City Attorney Susan Burns Cochran said Ms. Scherman didn't do anything wrong. If that is true, why this resolution?

Do the rules apply to everyone?

Again we ask: Do the rules apply to everyone? The buck stops with this city council and the examples set for everyone must start with this council.

At last Tuesday's Charter Commission meeting, Mike Quattrociocchi, Connie Conley and Council member Detrick held former Charter Commission Vice Chair Chris Orrock accountable for his actions, calling for his resignation because of violations of the city of Elk Grove's Code of Ethics. Is Ms. Scherman getting a pass here? No double standard is ever acceptable, or is it?

And frankly, shame on Ms. Scherman for putting all four of you in this position. What she should state is, "Lesson learned. I didn't comply with Resolution 2006-295 which I signed as mayor. Therefore, I request that Consent Item 6.5 be pulled. If I don't submit my reimbursements according to the resolution which I signed as Mayor of Elk Grove back in 2006, then I am SOL."

Furthermore, you must not look the other way even on the "little things," even if that little is thing $1.10 in mileage. And if Ms. Scherman is hurting that much that she must put in for that amount of mileage reimbursement, may we suggest that you rescind your $60.00 decrease in your monthly salary because it was just for show for the cameras during budget talks when the staff gave up their raises. Gives modern meaning to the quote by Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in the movie Sunset Boulevard, "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

And on that same "vain," we citizens are no longer fooled by such theatrics. Who on staff filled out this expense reimbursement for Ms. Scherman? She goes from scribbled notes to a filling out an expense reimbursement with general ledger accounts numbers included. And we cannot resist asking: How stupid does Ms. Scherman think we citizens are?

All four of you have too much integrity to even compromise on the little things and please ask yourselves: Who put you in this position? Can't blame this one on those "pesky citizens" who get in the way? From Price Pritchett's book, The Ethics of Excellence, "How can we be trusted with big things if we're not trustworthy with things that are small? Don't allow your finer instincts to become a casualty of the little everyday crimes of ethical compromise."

The five of you must hold each other accountable. It is your duty to the citizens of Elk Grove whom you represent. Please send a loud message on ethics, and on principle, that this council does abide by the rules, and does not look the other way, by pulling Consent Item 6.5 and voting "No."

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Phillip Stark said...

It might be a good idea too, while the council is on the subject, to amend the current mileage reimbursement policy to state any mileage expense (per instance) needs to be in excess of $5.00 to qualify for reimbursement. Submitting a request to be reimbursed $1.10, for a 2 mile trip seems particularly disturbing to this rate payer.

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