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County Fires Child Support Services Director Amid Illegal Spending Claims

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The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has terminated the county's director of child support services following claims that he obtained free personal travel services from county business trips, a spokeswoman said today.

The board formally released John Vartanian from his position on Monday after county officials placed him on paid leave on Sept. 9 to investigate the claims, county spokeswoman Gwen Mitchell said.

Deputy County Executive Sylvia Gallegos, appointed to oversee the child support agency in Vartanian's absence, will manage the department until the board appoints an acting director and then a permanent one, Mitchell said.

Vartanian was put on leave as the county looked into reports that he used a credit card to pay for expenses related to county business trips, then used travel points earned from the trips to receive free travel services for himself and members of his staff, according to Mitchell.

Mitchell declined to provide further details, saying it was a confidential personnel matter.

The Department of Child Support Services manages child support payment cases within the county, including enforcement of court orders of financial support for custodial parents and establishing the paternity of children, according to its website.
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