The district was cited for financing promotional materials that spotlighted the school board president who was seeking re-election, the superintendent inviting district contractors and employees to his daughter's bridal shower, which included a "money tree,'' and the superintendent charging $11,000 on the district's credit card to pay for meals and travel, above his $800 monthly stipend, according to the association's Gayle Lynn Falkenthal.
The other nominees were the Centre City Development Corp. for a pedestrian bridge over West Harbor Drive, near Petco Park, that was finished two years late and at twice the cost initially anticipated; the San Diego City Employees Retirement System for its generous pensions; and Poway for new water rates that enrich its coffers but discourage conservation.
The association annually names government agencies for their poor handling of taxpayer funds while also recognizing those that have been careful with public money.
The Regional Golden Fleece Award was presented to SD Safe for continuing to charge an extra $1 on state vehicle registrations to pay for freeway call boxes even though the system is built-out and the fund has built a reserve of $10 million.
The other nominees were the San Diego Unified School District, for canceling a trip by teachers and staff to a conference in Hawaii during the campaign for a parcel tax, and then reinstating the trip when the measure failed; and Southwestern College for problems in management.
The awards were presented at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in Mission Valley.