County worker on leave over credit card ‘rewards’

Santa Clara County has placed the director of the Department of Child Support Services on paid leave amid allegations he improperly used a credit card to obtain travel and other rewards points to get free services for himself and his staff, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The county said that John Vartanian was placed on leave while a probe continues into his travel payment practices, county spokeswoman Gwen Mitchell said.

Deputy County Executive Sylvia Gallegos will take his place in the interim, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said:

“An investigation has been underway for a while given the allegations that have been made. … I don’t expect it to be very, very long.”

Mitchell declined to go into specifics since it was a personnel matter, but said that the query centered on Vartanian allegedly using a credit card to accumulate travel points from county business trips to obtain free travel services for his personal use and for his staff members.

The Department of Child Services, located at 880 Ridder Park Dr. in San Jose, manages court-ordered child support payment cases within the county, according to the department’s website.