Healthcare Director Takes Advantage of District’s Travel Policy

PALM SPRINGS — Desert Healthcare District Director Kimberly Barraza, a senior district representative and policy advisor for State Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, seems to have had help from taxpayers exploring some sights of New York with her two children, according to documents obtained through a public records request.

It all started with four directors attending the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in New York in July.

The NALEO Conference was July 11 – 13, 2023 https://naleo.org/naleo2023-live/

The group from DHCD arrived July 10th and stayed July 10, 11, 12, 13, and checked out on the morning of Friday, July 14th. According to credit card receipts by former CEO Dr. Conrado Barzaga:

  • $1,405.66: Hotels.com – NALEO Conference – New York City, NY on July 10-14, 2023 – President Evett PerezGil
  • $1,405.66: Hotels.com – NALEO Conference – New York City, NY on July 10-14, 2023 – Vice-President Zavala
  • $1,405.66: Hotels.com – NALEO Conference – New York City, NY on July 10-14, 2023 – Director Leticia De Lara
  • $1,405.66 $      Hotels.com – NALEO Conference – New York City, NY on July 10-14, 2023 – Director Barraza

At some point, Barzaga gave permission for Barraza (and two children – see bottom of Hotels.com that lists one adult, two kids) to stay the weekend on the District’s dime.  Barzaga paid to book her and the two kids at the Westin on Hotels.com (July 14-16).  Barraza claims in an email that the flights were canceled on Friday, July 14, but that didn’t happen until Sunday, July 16th.

She received authorization to stay at the Westin Hotel in Times Square until Sunday, July 16th, but why? The conference ended on Thursday. However, flights were canceled on Sunday and then she rented a car and drove not to any place close like Buffalo or Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C. —she rents a car and drives 848 miles west to Chicago at an additional $444.88.  Then books a last-minute flight from O’Hare International Airport to Ontario International Airport for $857.96.  If Southwest canceled her original flight, it would have gotten her on another flight at no additional cost.

It is clear the flight wasn’t canceled because Director Zavala checked out on July 14 and returned to PSP and paid for her car parking on the night of the 14th at 9;20 pm.

Observers of the embattled Healthcare District say, “This is a vacation stay on the taxpayer’s dime with her two kids. Now, it’s common for people to extend their trip to these conferences, but taxpayers don’t pay for the additional days, it is the responsibility of the elected official to pay for it, personally!”

Following are photos Barraz is reported to have taken while in New York and posted to social media when she got back.  It shows her and her kids checking out the sights of New York City.

DHCD Director Abuses Travel Policy DHCD Director Abuses Travel Policy

 

Image Sources

  • Kimberly Barraza: DHCD