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726-9600 EGG DONATION EARN $5000 - Daily 49er

726-9600 EGG DONATION EARN $5000 - Daily 49er

726-9600 EGG DONATION EARN $5000 - Daily

Daily Today’s Weather 49 49er Our View: Transparency needed in aftermath of CSU funds fiasco. See Page 4 High Low 59 44 Tomorrow’s Forecast High 60 Low 49 Vol. LIX, Issue 184 www.daily49er.com Tuesday, December 8, 2009 By RoBeRT GRimmick Online Editor Michael chan Yee / DailY 49er Schlepping through the rain Students, faculty and staff brave the rain outside of the University Bookstore area on Monday afternoon to attend class. Approximately 1.42 inches fell in Long Beach on Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times. City health officer Helene Calvet cautioned beachgoers to avoid beaches for 72 hours after rainfall due to high levels of bacteria entering the ocean, according to the Press-Telegram. 6 0 t h A n n i v e r s a r y Official got ‘improper reimbursements’ State auditor says CSU improperly approved expense claims for travel, meals and living expenses Students in the California State University system may not know everything their fees help pay for, but they’d probably be surprised to learn that one CSU official used university money to pay for trips to China, Amsterdam and Australia. In a report released Dec. 3, California State Auditor Elaine Howle revealed that a former employee of the CSU chancellor’s office received $152,441 in improper reimbursements between July 2005 and July 2008. The report also said the university failed to adequately review the expenses claimed. The employee, who was not named in the report, was described as a high-ranking official in the Information Technology Services department of the chancellor’s office. The official has been identified as David Ernst, who now serves as the chief information officer in the University of California office of the president. Nearly $40,000 of the reimbursements were for travel that “appeared to offer the university few tangible benefits,” according to the report. Trips to high-profile destinations such as Shanghai, Melbourne, London and Amsterdam were covered by university funds. Other expenses claimed by the former official include meals, commute expenses, personal expenses and a living allowance. Ernst defended himself in a written statement. “I am disappointed by the tone and tenor of this audit,” Ersnt said. “It appears to elevate concerns about travel policy issues into a personal attack on my character. As with many such reports, the issues in this audit are much more complex than they may appear on first reading,” In the report, the state auditor also criticized the university David Ernst, former CSU official for lacking policies and safeguards to discourage inappropriate reimbursements, as well as failing to enforce caps on spending that were in place. During the three-year period examined in the report, Ernst claimed $26,455 in eating expenses. In one case, the official was reimbursed $2,332 for a business-related dinner attended by 14 CSU staff members, at a cost of almost $167 per person. University policy at the time prohibited payments of more than $25 per person for meal expenses, but the official was still reimbursed. Erik Fallis, media relations specialist for the CSU, said the CSU agrees with the auditor’s recommendation to re-examine reimbursement policies for high-level employees. “Two years ago, the CSU put in place more stringent controls for regulating meal and travel reimbursements,” Fallis said in an e-mail. “It is clear that some of the amounts claimed were excessive and unacceptable, and would not be approved under policies now in place.” Ernst’s actions have been criticized by labor groups and legislators. Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association, called the report “the most recent in a long line of incidents from CSU executives and managers that betray the public confidence.” A labor union representing workers of the UC is asking for Ernst’s resignation. Ernst began working at the UC in July 2008 after 13 years at the CSU, according to a letter by Katherine Lapp, executive vice president of business operations for the UC system. His initial salary was listed at $238,000 in a compensation report prepared by the UC. When interviewed by Howle, Ernst defended many of his claimed expenses. He said the expen- sive meals were used to thank people who served on university committees and organizations. Travel-related expenses were defended as necessary. The official traveled to Shanghai and Amsterdam in order to attend meetings held by private companies that were vendors for the university. Ernst said in his statement that the organizations offered to pay for the travel, but that the CSU could not accept the payments because of state conflict of interest rules. Increase in troops brings mixed thoughts Soldiers will begin to withdraw from Afghanistan as soon as July 2011 By Tim Lynch Staff Writer What’s going on? President Barack Obama announced last Tuesday plans to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, and some Cal State Long Beach students and faculty are questioning the decision. The plans were announced during a speech in front of cadets at West Point and broadcast live on television. The troop increase will bring the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000. Obama said during his speech that he decided to increase troops because he is “convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” He also said that forces will begin to withdraw as soon as July 2011 but did not give a deadline for complete withdrawal. The move to increase troops was widely supported by Republicans in Congress. “We believe the surge in Afghanistan has a good chance of working just like the surge in Iraq did,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told McClatchy Newspapers. Many Republicans questioned the timeline. “It has to be appropriate conditions or an arbitrary date. … You can’t have both,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in front of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., does not support a troop increase, according to her Web site. Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., told the Whittier Daily News on Dec. 1, “We need to bring our soldiers home to their families.” As stated in Obama’s speech, the U.S. initially in- Other CSU officials who were interviewed during the investigation said the meetings were necessary in order to maintain relationships with the vendors and other attendees. The state auditor’s office, however, said there was “no evidence indicating that the official’s attendance at these events provided a significant business advantage or strategic value for the university.” State Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, called upon Ernst to repay the money. “Taxpayers and CSU students deserve a refund,” Yee said in a press release. Yee, who authored a bill vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would have limited pay raises of executives in the CSU and UC systems, said the actions described in the audit were “likely only the tip of the iceberg.” Fallis said the CSU would try to recover money paid to Ernst in overpayments and duplicate payments, a total of $1,834, according to the audit. In his statement, Ernst said he had already sent a check for that amount to the CSU chancellor’s office. vaded Afghanistan in response to the Taliban’s harboring of al-Qaida after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “Within a matter of months, al-Qaida was scattered and many of its operatives were killed,” Obama said. “It is enough to say that for the next six years, the Iraq War drew the dominant share of our troops, our resources, our diplomacy and our national attention — and that the decision to go into Iraq caused substantial rifts between America and much of the world.” CSULB political science professor Edgar Kaskla said he is not sure if “Afghanistan is anywhere close to having a viable state form right now. It’s more or less Kabul and Kandahar and the rest of the country.” The majority of Afghanistan is made up of tribal regions. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, 44.5 percent of the country’s population is 14 or under. Only 2.4 percent of the country is 65 or over. “There is a huge opium trade,” Kaskla said. “So anything that helps that economy — a dictatorship, a democracy, or just plain corruption — will be tolerated if the poppy trade can keep going and earn these guys big money.” Sophomore political science major Benjamin Levin said the U.S. has achieved its objective of upending al-Qaida in the region “There’s no definition of winning in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that the U.S. should not be spending its resources fighting the Taliban. “We should be decentralizing power in a way that is consistent with Afghan traditions and empowering the tribal leaders,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif, said in a press release. Rohrabacher said about any plans to reform Afghanistan, “It doesn’t work and never has. Not from Alexander the Great to the Soviets.”