In the book, “The Road out of Debt,” author J.N. Feeney writes, “Cut up any credit card with an annual fee. Annual fees are a waste of money.”

I have three major credit cards, one of which collects airline miles and includes rental car insurance, among other perks, and I do not pay an annual fee for any of them. Annual fees are unnecessary for personal use and for taxpayer supported personnel, they are wasteful.

Apparently, the folks at the Newport-Mesa Unified School District haven’t discovered the joy of getting perks without fees. And why should they? After all, it’s not their money they are spending, it’s yours.

On page 152 of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s 2014-15 All Funds Final Budget, there is a line item expense of $47,000 for “Seven American Express memberships; CSBA membership dues and Education Legal Alliance: Chambers of Commerce; Schools for Sound Finance; OCSBA; NSBA.” (Note that not all of that $47K is for annual fees, just some of it.)

That is followed on page 153 by a separate line under “Dues and Memberships,” which reads, “Annual American Express membership; Superintendent organizations.” That total line item is $1,200. So we have two separate entries that include annual fees for American Express cards.

The amount of the American Express memberships is irrelevant. As my campaign opponent said of the taxpayer dollars devoted to the wasteful travel and conference budget, “It’s a drop in the bucket.”

So let’s remember that the taxpayer bucket is a collection of drops. Every paper clip, stapler, desk and chair in every public office everywhere was paid for by working taxpayers who expect their elected representatives to be good stewards of their tax dollars.

In my Daily Pilot column from Dec. 13, 2011, I pointed out the wasteful travel expenses of ex-Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard. Those included multiple minibar purchases, numerous room service charges, including $72.84 for one meal, $29.90 for Internet service in his room, and $216 to get to and from O’Hare international airport in a luxury car.

Apparently, little has changed. And why should they care? After all, these expenses are just drops in the bucket.

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