Who knew working for City College of San Francisco was such a plush gig? Recently obtained financial records from the college show that large sums of money were spent to cover costs associated with frequent travel and exorbitant meals for two City College administrators — costs that school officials are unable to fully explain.
City College has had a troubled few years, with an accreditation crisis and a near shut down keeping the school in the news. It appears that with these problems as a backdrop, two top officials — then Chancellor Art Tyler and then President Virginia Parras — were living large on the school's dime.
Records obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle show that Parras was frequently reimbursed for expensive meals without providing explanation for how they benefited the college, or with whom she ate.
Three such meals at San Francisco's Trattoria da Vittorio averaged $516 each, even though the most expensive food item on the dinner menu is $25. The wine menu, on the other hand, has several $90-plus options.
Parras was hired by Art Tyler, a former colleague in Houston, and was paid roughly $192,000 plus $1,400 per month for "community relations." Her entire position has since been eliminated, begging the question of if it was ever really necessary in the first place.
As for Tyler, who currently runs the CCSF facilities department after he resigned from his role of Chancellor, the Chronicle observes that he traveled so much that he was away from the school nearly a third of the time.
What's more, the then Chancellor seemed extremely flippant about record keeping and expenditures. The paper notes that in addition to Tyler's $289,284 a year salary, he received $1,000 per month to be spent on "community relations" with the stipulation that he provide an annual documentation of how the money was spent. Tyler never provided the required records to the school, despite serving in the position for 20 months.
While questions of propriety remain, one thing appears clear: President of the faculty union, Tim Killikelly, told the Chron that over the past three years administration costs have gone up roughly 29 percent while spending on faculty has dropped 9 percent.
What does the current administration have to say about all this? Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb has apparently begun an investigation into the spending, and City College Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman told the paper that fiscal controls at the school need to be tightened.
“It’s an area where we need to do more," said Mandelman. "So [Lamb] is taking it seriously. Were the appropriate controls in place? And were these appropriate or inappropriate expenditures?”