Special People

Singer/Song Writer Larry Norman once lamented, “Why are the rich more equal than others?”
In state government there are the rules and then there are the exceptions for “special people”.
The point is that regardless of what the Marxist folks among us proclaim about equality, some folks are more equal than others. This is my chance to vent about such an occurrence yesterday at work.

Yesterday I got this email message “Please let me know the status of a travel advance for my boss.” Travel Advances are money loaned to a state employee prior to traveling on state related business. Once the trip is complete the employee must file an expense claim for the trip and the advance is “recovered” from the money reimbursed to the employee. In this case the travel dates of the advance were July 26 – 30.

My response was “The claim was returned on 08-02-10 since dates of travel had already past. It looks like the TA is being resubmitted. Since dates of travel have already gone past (July 26-30), this travel advance will not be paid.”

Her reply was “The TA was submitted on 7/20/10, a week in advance of his travel.  Why was it not paid in a timely manner originally?”

My next response was “Due to not having a budget, virtually all travel advance requests are not being paid. We let people know this at the beginning of the fiscal year. Furthermore, no expense claims for travel after June 30th are being paid.”

Her next email message was “There are no exceptions (travel was approved by Chief Deputy Secretary)??”

My response to her was “I don’t handle travel advances; I can just tell you what is coming from upper management. Here is text of first memo on budget that we got on June 30th.  As you can see travel advances and expense reimbursements in new fiscal year are not allowed.” Then I attached a June 30 memo from the Department of Finance. Part of the memo states:

This BL reminds state departments that Office Revolving Fund (ORF) disbursements are generally prohibited for fiscal year 2010-11 payments until the 2010-11 Budget is enacted.  Generally, this restriction applies to ORF payments for travel advances, travel expenses, discount invoices, and other payments made by ORF check.

Emphasis in red was in the original message sent to me. (Travel Advances are paid from the Revolving Fund.)

At this point I did not have any further correspondence with this employee. However, about 45 minutes later my manager came and had a talk with me. I was told that everything I have told the employee was correct but so and so had the big boss at CDCR accounting and hesaid that we should pay the travel advance for this employee. Furthermore that any travel advance questions that I received in the future were to be referred to another employee because she had the list of people that were exceptions to the rules.

Per Travel Manual Chapter 3, “A travel advance will not be issued for the following:… When the employee is requesting an advance for days already elapsed.”

Conclusion, there is one set of rules for the masses and another set for the ruling classes.