By Rachel O'Brien, Deputy Policy Editor, OpenTheBooks.com
Clark County spent $1.5 million on training and travel-related expenses in fiscal year 2022, while Clark County schools provided only a small portion of their travel expenses.
The county spent $154,528 on hotels, including $88,632 at Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and $44,557 at Marriott hotels, according to records provided through the Nevada Public Records Act.
It spent $54,038 on other transportation, including $21,067 at rideshare service Lyft, $6,378 at Enterprise, $10,484 on other unspecified transportation or public transportation.
The county made 2,333 transactions, with at least 455 transactions totaling $77,500 for meals.
American Express was the largest single recipient of expenses, at $629,501, but transaction descriptions were vague.
Some descriptions included the name of the person traveling but didn’t say what the funds were spent on. Other descriptions said “airfare” but gave no other information, including who traveled, in which department, where or why.
Some descriptions said “travel” or “parent travel” or gave a travel date — on top of the already stated transaction date. Other descriptions said “Amex” as the only descriptor.
In a few instances, the description gave an abbreviated name of the reason for travel, like “NACM Annual Conference” but gave no name of the person who traveled.
Other travel expenses had more detailed descriptions, and in some cases, transactions showed enough details to piece together which person traveled, where and why.
Some transactions — 164 — had no description, so it’s unclear whether it was spent on airfare, hotels, food or other.
Training expenses included $16,179 paid to IT product company CDW Government LLC, with no transaction descriptions.
Another $13,750 went to technological research and consulting firm Gartner, with no transaction descriptions.
While $12,204 was paid to IT service management company Sirius Computer Solutions Inc., with no transaction descriptions.
The records for Clark County Schools, however, were far from complete.
While OpenTheBooks.com requested travel spending records from the Clark County Schools, their records access officer said they don’t keep those records and asked us to provide names of specific employees who traveled.
Our narrowed request asked for the travel expenses of the 23 members of the “cabinet,” beginning with Superintendent Jesus F. Jara, his deputy and assistant superintendents and chief officers.
The records provided show only $23,650 in travel expenses in FY 2022, half of which — $12,103 — was from Jara’s travels to almost a dozen events in Chicago, Washington D.C. , Denver, San Antonio, San Diego, Palm Springs, Portland, OR, and more local events in Lake Tahoe and Reno.
These records don’t even include all travel for these employees. A note on the records states, “Only includes travel claims that were submitted to Accounting for payment reimbursement. May not include any/all travel.”
The school district has recently denied Nevada Public Records Act requests for their vendor spending and credit card spending records, providing only totals spent on credit cards, without information on what was purchased and from whom.
A spokesperson for the school district said, “All travel expenses referenced are for approved District-related business travel.”
A spokesperson for the county didn’t respond to our request for comment on the spending.