[Solano County] Vallejo City Council to mull reimbursement for Verder-Aliga’s travel

Blog note: this article references a grand jury report criticizing councilmember travel expenses.

The Vallejo City Council is being asked to approve Councilwoman Rozzana Verder-Aliga’s travel expenses for her upcoming visit to several of Vallejo’s sister cities this summer.

The council will decide Tuesday whether to reimburse Verder-Aliga $1,520 for a goodwill mission from July 11 through 29.

Verder-Aliga is scheduled to visit the city’s sister cities in South Korea, the Philippines, and Japan.

The possible funding comes nearly two years after a Solano County Grand Jury Report criticized the 2015 trip taken by then-Mayor Osby Davis and Verder-Aliga.

Both traveled to Japan and the Philippines with the council setting aside a combined $3,100 in travel reimbursements for the pair. Davis requested and ultimately received $2,098.76 for his travel expenses.

The grand jury had recommended that if the purpose of travel is economic in nature, City Hall should send a member of the economic development team on the trip. That person should file a report with the council after returning.

The grand jury further took aim at Davis for staying at a sponsored member only country club while visiting the Philippines.

In response, the council in August 2016 voted 5-2 to send a scathing response to the grand jury. The council heartily disagreed with the findings and defended the funding.

Councilman Robert McConnell and then-councilman Bob Sampayan opposed the city’s response to the report.

According to Tuesday’s staff report, Verder-Aliga’s travel is consistent with the city’s Travel and Expense Reimbursement policy.

Staff also recommend the council approve the item.

“Councilmember Verder-Aliga will be meeting with various dignitaries as well as business leaders to exchange investment ideas and opportunities that may promote international trade and development opportunities for Vallejo businesses in concert with our Sister Cities,” staff wrote. “Furthermore, this Good Will Mission will allow Councilmember Verder-Aliga the opportunity to enhance the relationship between Vallejo and our Sister Cities, while promoting a positive image and reputation internationally.”

May 7, 2018

Vallejo Times-Herald

By John Glidden