VICTORVILLE — Elected officials have rescinded travel expense allotments for council members, choosing instead to leave reimbursement requests up to the Council for approval on an individual basis. The 4-1 decision came on the heels of scrutiny raised by the majority body over Councilwoman Blanca Gomez's spending, which some officials believed was disproportionate to other electeds. 2,491.17 over the same period, city records show.
Kennedy was the only councilor who had not submitted any travel expenses. 5,000 group pool and a separate fund for travel to a League of California Cities conference. It also scraps a recent policy that the city manager must OK such expenses — an extra control that had been added following an internal city audit which officials said was spurred by the frequency of Gomez's travel requests.
Gomez viewed the move as much ado about nothing, or another in a succession of instances where fellow electeds have singled her out. That me-against-the-world sentiment, however, has grown thin among her colleagues. Councilman Eric Negrete said. Gomez's spending did not appear to reflect anything unusual, and she sees it as reflective of her level of engagement, noting that the elected role should be a full-time job.
In doing so, she has also stepped up her call to rally would-be office seekers, who share her view of the responsibility of the seat, to supplant the incumbents in Victorville. Almost immediately after winning election in November 2016, Gomez and her colleagues — particularly Negrete and Mayor Gloria Garcia — have publicly butted heads, and Gomez has seemed to rotate between launching personal attacks and extending an olive branch.
Comments she made in short succession during the May 1 meeting could be viewed as one example, as she questioned whether health care coverage in perpetuity had been provided to a former elected official. Meanwhile, city officials have struggled over whether to vocalize their displeasure or to keep quiet, concluding that the first strategy might ratchet up tensions and the other could work only to embolden her. Negrete pleaded to a crowd in council chambers.