Friday, February 29, 2008

SCHWAB PLEADS GUILTY!

Admits Guilt To 4 Counts
Of Conspiracy & One Count
Mail Fraud;
Faces Prison Term Up To 24 1/2 years
May be ordered to pay restitution of up to $7 million to Kodak and the taxpayers of Greece

D&C Story

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Auberger & Town Sued Over Prayers At Meetings

Americans United for Separation of Church & State Suing Greece
"We do not control the content of the prayers given, nor do we place restrictions or guidelines on these prayers." ~~ Auberger
MPNNow

BOE Calling Special Meeting Today at 5:30PM

It is anticipated that the Board will go into an Executive Session at 5:30 pm in E40 to discuss employment history of a particular person and proposed litigation.

WHY THE SUDDEN MEETING?
IS THERE AN EMERGENCY?

(This meeting was NOT posted on the GCSD website yesterday morning.)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Are GCSD's Biggest Challenges?

< ~~~ New Poll Asks:
What Do You Think Is
The Biggest Challenge
Facing Our School District?

It's Been Suggested That The First Item On The List Should Read: "Raising Academic Standards/Testing" so please vote with that word change in mind. Thank you :)

Who Are They Kidding?? or How Quickly They Forget??

From page 5 of the most recent Town of Greece newsletter:

"Supervisor Auberger is pleased to announce that the Town of Greece has been recognized by the New York State Office of Real Property Services with an Excellence in Equity Award for its efforts to provide fair and equitable assessments for its property owners on the 2007 assessment roll. The Town received special recognition for qualifying for this award for six years since the program's inception in 1999. The Town was also commended for maintaining a system of real property tax administration that meets the highest standards set by New York State."

Wasn't Mr. Schwab's tenure during that six year period??

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Few Good People ...

... Are Needed To Fill Three BOE Seats In May!!

Charlie Hubbard's, Frank Oberg's and Joe Moscato's seats on the Board of Education will be up for grabs in the May election. Though they've taken out petitions, they haven't said whether they intend to run or not. Several others have also taken out petitions, including former BOE member, Bill Russell.

So, if you'd like to run, interested candidates must take out a petition available from the Board Clerk (Lynne Armstrong; Apollo Middle School, 750 Maiden Lane; call (585) 966-2010) and collect 136 signatures. Petitions must be returned by April 21. The 3 year terms are unpaid.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Monroe County Property Taxes Among Highest In NY & Nation

Greece: Ave. home assessed at $122,380

Total property taxes for a home in GCSD: $4,445

County taxes account for about 20% of the total property tax bill for a typical Monroe County homeowner.

D&C Story

Saturday, February 23, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!
SCATS IS 2 YEARS OLD TODAY :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

One Way To Plug A "Leak" ...

Joe Moscato said...
The headline in this week's Greece Post is inaccurate. Allow me to explain. It said that there were a Bakers Dozen (13) suspects who could have been responsible for the audit leak. The number is actually 14 or more. What follows will explain that conclusion.

From the outset, the way the draft audit was handled was sloppy and carelessly done. Board President Roger Boily fouled up and must ultimately take the blame for the entire document being given to the D&C.

Board members were not given any advance notice that the audit had been received. Instead, my copy was delivered to my house by a district courrier and placed between my two front doors. I have no idea how long it was there before I discovered the report. By having it delivered by courrier, there was another set of hands and possible eyes on this document. Assuming the same courrier delivered all 9 copies, then 14 is the correct number of individuals with access to the report.

The way this report should have been handled was immediately upon receipt of the audit, Roger should have called a special meeting of the Board at a time and date convenient to all board members. The board should have gone into executive session where each board member would have been given a numbered copy and allowed to read the audit. Board members would not be allowed to take written notes of the draft audit.

After reading the document and having a discussion period, all copies should have been collected by the board clerk and locked in a secure location. The only copies that should have left that room should have been the ones in possession of Superintendent Achromovitch and Director of Finance, Lou Alaimo.

At the exit interview with the State Auditors a few days later, members would again receive copies for discussion with the auditors. At the conclusion of this meeting, all board members would again surrender their copies of the draft.

If this practice that has been employed before regarding sensitive information had been followed, the document would never have been leaked by board members or possible family members and we wouldn't find ourselves in the mess we are in with some board members pointing the finger at others.

Joe Moscato
2/22/2008 4:29 PM

AUBERGER FINDS VOICE ON MALL SAFETY

WITHIN 30 DAYS NEW POLICY
WILL PROHIBIT UNACCOMPANIED
MINORS ON WEEKENDS


"Keeping our mall safe is critically important. We will not tolerate the behavior we've seen at the Mall over the past few weeks. We have monitored this situation with the Wilmorite Company and we both agreed it is time to develop and implement this policy." ~~ John Auberger

WHEC NEWS

POLICE BOOSTING MALL PATROLS AFTER FIGHTS

Eight Arrested In Two Fights Inside Mall Last Saturday;
One Fight Broke Out In A Store;
A Series Of Fights Involved Young Teens In Petco Parking Lot


D&C STORY

Thursday, February 21, 2008

District Office: Intimidation Past & Present

Anonymous said...
I know someone who attempted to bring items to the attention of their supervisor. Their supervisor turned the issues around and made a case against the staffer. The staffer then went to higher levels. Those at higher levels collaborated (colluded?) with the supervisor to the detriment of the staffer.
Over time, the staffer was strongly encouraged to leave through blatant public humiliation and intimidation.
The end result? The staffer's reputation was damaged beyond repair and they left the district. Couldn't happen under Moscato or Olberg? Guess what? IT HAPPENED UNDER MOSCATO AND OLBERG.
So Joe, Frank, Charlie. Would you be interested in the details of just how your own staff sets you up to believe exactly what THEY want you to believe without regard as to what truth is? I would LOVE to tell you, but I don't trust that you would keep my information confidential.
Quite a dilemma you have, huh? 2/18/2008 3:49 PM

Anonymous said...
Seems the district spin machine is in high gear. The shills work extra hard to deflect the argument when it is close to revealing what actually goes on.
2/18/2008 6:08 PM

Anonymous said...
Earlier on here, there was a discussion as to why the former Technology Director (E.T.) was asked to leave the district. Could it be because he uncovered some of Walt's misdeeds and was threatening to expose his financial mismanagement?
2/20/2008 9:00 AM

Anonymous said...
RE: The removal of ET (former Tech Director): Why were all the members of the tech dept threatened with insubordination if they even mentioned ET's name after he was let go?? More intimidation from above?? (It's still going on!)
2/20/2008 9:13 AM

Anonymous said...
What happened to ET is a case study in why a whistle blower policy is mandatory. What happened to him was an immoral unchecked exercise of corrupt crony wielded power.
ET trusted. He shared information that implicated people in behavior that would have rocked top leadership, leadership that is still in place by the way!. He paid for his loyalty to the district and voters with his career.
This is a good man who happened to get caught in the wake of evil and intimidation that remains alive and well in greece.
Will the Board of Education ever see this thread? I doubt it. Too bad. They would have a lot to learn by contacting him (and others who were forced out by the powers that are still there). 2/21/2008 10:53 AM

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Release Of Berry Report May Still Jeopardize GCSD Legally

"I think if it's redacted properly, there won't be a problem. I think we need to let everyone look at it and go from there." ~~ VanOrman

"I don't think redacting names will suffice. Our attorneys told us if one sentence of the report comes out, the entire report has to be released and I think as painful as it is, we should follow the advice of our attorney." ~~ Oberg

"Doing so would be detrimental to the best interests of the district. I'd be happy to hand-deliver everyone a copy of the Berry Report, but only when all the litigation is done." ~~ Moscato

D&C Story

SCATS wonders ~~ While they argue over relative trivia such as this, what's happening to the bigger issues the draft audit report uncovered and the building of the 2008 budget we vote on in May?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thirteen Possible "Suspects" In Draft Audit Report Leak

Does it really matter that the draft audit was leaked to the community before the school board could respond?

These 13 people had the preliminary report in GCSD ~~Supt. Achramovitch; clerk Lynne Armstrong; board members Roger Boily, VanOrman, Carolyn Hauer, Charlie Hubbard, Joe Moscato, Oberg, Gale O’Toole, Pat Tydings and Jeff Smith; deputy supt. Don Nadolinksi & school business administrator Lou Alaimo

“This is really just raising so many more bigger concerns. I’m really concerned that (the leak) subverted the process that the state put in place. " ~~ BOE VP Julia VanOrman

“Now, no matter what the final report says, people will remember what they first heard." ~~ Frank Oberg

“There’s going to be some unease between one (member) to the next. It’s just how much and how much of an interference it will be. Time will tell, but it’s going to have some type of an impact. And it’s sad that it will.” ~~ Pat Tydings

MPNNow

The Walts Contract Addendum

By request, here's a link to that pesky Addendum that gave Steve LIFETIME Health Care Benefits. Link posted with permission.

Whistleblowers Policy Discussed

"I feel people should feel comfortable about coming forth." ~~ Roger Boily (Duh!! Isn't that the whole point of a Whistle Blowers Policy, Roger??)

"It has to be the right policy. I would like it to be so that if someone has a story to tell, they should be free of any kind of intimidation or harassment, so we need to guarantee anonymity." ~~ Frank Oberg

"It is in the best interest of a district and the public for employees to know they can bring information about wrongdoing, theft or violations of law or district policy to the board of education." ~~ David Albert, spokesman for the state School Boards Association

D&C Story

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Greece Audit, EEOC Suit Add To Walts' Agenda

"When you have the school board attorney having to address this issue, it costs money. When our superintendent has to leave his business here to attend to these other matters, it's a huge distraction, no matter how you look at it." ~~ Maria Paslick, pres. of PWCS Education Foundation

WashPost

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Moscato's vs. Tydings' Whistle Blowers Policy Ideas

Joe Moscato said...

I must commend Pat Tydings for his initiative in instituting a long needed whistle blower policy. However, that said, the policy he proposed is an abomination. This policy was written by board attorneys in conjunction with Pat and Steve Achromovitch. It is obvious to this board member that the process outlined in this policy is severely flawed and will not inspire anyone in their right mind to come forward. Perhaps that is why it is being presented in its present form and is another example of the smoke and mirrors policy of this administration.

This policy is a reaction to recommendations made by the State Auditor who strongly urged this action consistent with their findings during the audit. They suggested it for two reasons, one to eliminate a repeat of wrongdoing in the future and because the number of anonymous calls they received during their six month investigation telling them to look at this and look at that was overwhelming and never before seen by them.

My point, if we are going to have a policy that works, we have to do it altogether differently than the one being proposed. The following is how I would craft this policy, very simply and with straight forward guarantees of protection to those who choose to come forward.

1. The district, district officials or anyone employeed by the district should not be the "go to" person. The board should hire or designate an outside agency with no ties whatsoever with district officals for this purpose.

2. Persons coming forward to this agency with information would be assigned a code number. The only person who would know their true identity would be the designated agency.

3. This agency would provide any information learned directly to the board, including only the code number of the person coming forward.

4. The only way this person would be identified would be through his or her expressed written permission.

5. It will then become the responsibility of the BOE through the president to make the superintendent aware of the allegations and request the action indicated.

Joe Moscato

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whistleblowers Policy (Tydings' Proposal)

Purpose: To promote adherence to Greece Central School District policies and procedures and to encourage food faith reports of allegations of misconduct concerning compliance with District policies and procedures and State and Federal Law.

Policy: The District relies on its employees to perform their duties and responsibilities in accordance with the District’s policies and law. The District provides various mechanisms to assist and encourage employees to come forward in good faith with reports or concerns about suspected compliance issues. Employees may report suspected non-compliance issues without fear of reprisal or retaliation.

1. All employees should follow all District policies and procedures in carrying out his/her duties and responsibilities for the District.
2. Any employee who has a question about the propriety of any practice under District policies or State or Federal Law, should seek guidance from his/her supervisor or the District official who has responsibility for overseeing compliance with the particular policy or procedure.
3. Any employee who becomes aware of a potential or actual material violation of District policies or State and Federal law, should report such potential or actual conduct, regardless of whether the employee is personally involved in the matter.
4. A reporting employee may request that such a report be handled as confidentially as possible under the circumstances, and the District will endeavor to handle all such reports with discretion and with due regard for the privacy of the reporting employee.
5. An employee may make anonymous reports, with the understanding that any investigation may be hampered due to the inability to identify the employee in order to obtain a full and complete account of relevant and necessary facts from the employee or to ask additional questions or seek clarification as any investigation proceeds.
6. Employees are encouraged to make such a report to his/her immediate supervisor. If the employee feels unable to do so or if there is any reason why this may not be appropriate, the employee should raise the issue to District’ Claims Auditor, an official who by law reports directly to the Board of Education. The telephone number for the Claims Auditor is 966-2385.
7. An employee who comes forward in good faith with reports or concerns about compliance with District policies or law shall not be subject to reprisal or retaliation for making such a report. Any employee who believes that he/she is being retaliated against for making such a report should immediately bring it to the attention of his supervisor or the Human Resources Department or the Claims Auditor for immediate investigation.

Whistle Blowers Policy Must Have Teeth & Protections

Anonymous said...

"What I heard of the whistle blower policy put forth by Pat Tydings is not satisfactory at all. There is no absolute protection offered to the whistle blower and advises them to go to their supervisor to report a wrong. That's a laugh, it's usually their supervisor who is the wrong-doer. There must be some outside of the district person or place where they can call and be afforded absolute anonymity. It's a step in the right direction but it needs a lot of work." 2/13/2008 8:12 PM

Anonymous said...

" ... I did get a chance to read the whistle blower policy put forth at Tuesday's board meeting. It is obvious by this policy that administration does not want anyone blowing the whistle.

Here are just a couple of the relevant paragraphs: "A reporting employee may request that such a report be handled as CONFIDENTIALLY AS POSSIBLE under the circustances, and the District will ENDEAVOR to handle all such reports with DISCRETION and with due regard for the PRIVACY of the reporting employee." (emphasis added)

"Employees are encouraged to make such a report to his/her IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR". . . It goes on to say that if the employee feels they cannot report to their supervisor, they "should raise the issue to the DISTRICT CLAIMS AUDITOR (A District administration employee) an official who by law reports directly to the BOARD OF EDUCATION" then goes on to give the telephone number. (Are they crazy or what, I have a lot of things I could report, but do you think I trust anyone in this district or board of education? I saw what happened to those who complained before and there are still a lot of those people around in administration and MKC lovers on the board. I will not risk my years of education and my career on the flimsy promises outlined above.)

It also claims that anyone who comes forward will not be subject to reprisals or retaliation for making such a report and that anyone who feels such retaliation, should report it to his or her supervisor or the Human Resources Department (in this district this is the biggest laugh of all because in most instances, the supervisor is the person causing the complaint and we all know about Human Resources.

If this board votes for this weak whistle blower policy, it will only prove to me and the community that they are not serious and do not want to hear all the crap that did go on and is still going on." 2/15/2008 6:47 PM

Anonymous said...

"I agree with the person who commented on the "Whistle Blowers" policy. Tydings must be on another planet if this is best idea he can come up with for employees in the district who may know of illegal/criminal activity and want to report it. This proposed policy should be "cut off at the knees" next month when it comes up for a "second" reading. Instead, the board should communicate to district employees and others the names and phone numbers of the local DA, the Albany offices of the State Comptroller and State Attorney General. These offices HAVE phone numbers people can call to report illegal/criminal activity in school districts and other municipalities. And by doing it this way it will not allow the district to start the "cover our butt" game. You can also find this information on their individual web sites. I would encourage anyone who may have information to contact these agencies directly." 2/16/2008 5:57 AM

Friday, February 15, 2008

From the Comments ...

Anonymous said...
This news just in! The Director of Information Technology at Greece CSD was asked to resign their position after they uncovered emails from current and prior administration that relate to CIP wrongdoing. Feel free to comment if you know more about this. 2/15/2008 5:49 PM

From The Tonawanda News ...

BLOTTER: Police reports published Jan. 31

CHARGED: Gregory J. Achramovitch, 16, of Kenmore, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana at 8:50 p.m. Monday. Achramovitch was allegedly smoking marijuana in a car with friends when the group was stopped by police, according to reports. A search revealed a small bag of marijuana which Achramovitch allegedly claimed as his, according to reports. Achramovitch was released on an appearance ticket.

TonawandaNews

Thursday, February 14, 2008

FYI ..

Anonymous said...
Scats: Please post if you get a chance.I just heard that the replay of Tuesday night's board meeting will be on at 7:00 p.m. on Channel 12 tonight.
2/14/2008 2:58 PM

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rants 'N Raves ... SCATS' Opinions

Rant
Board President Roger Boily really needs to review Robert's Rules of Order, the GCSD Policy Manual and his apparent inability to apply boardroom "rules" fairly to ALL of his colleagues and to those who speak at Resident's Forum (in the past). His attempts to silence those who don't share his views only make the BOE look more inept than they've already proven themselves to be!

Rave
The board member or district office staffer that gave a copy of the draft audit report to the press IS a hero! Despite what others on the school board are saying in their feeble attempts to try to cover their behinds, this person did what needed to be done to ensure scrutiny by the public. THANK YOU :)

Rant
Julia VanOrman's plea to get the Barry Report released sounds good on the surface BUT the idea isn't likely to see the light of day. She seems to have forgotten that the BOE avowed to never say anything bad about MKC (redacted or otherwise) ... or else they will pay a tidy sum of $10,000 per instance (if memory serves correctly). Even with names redacted, it's doubtful this report will ever see the light of day in Greece. The lawsuits must go on ...

Rave
An ironclad Whistle Blower's Policy is sorely needed in this district!! Pat Tydings hard work on crafting one has only just begun with last night's "First Reading" of a newly forged policy. Please Pat, make sure this policy has teeth and contains no loopholes!

Rant
Ms. Smith's address to the BOE was almost too difficult to listen to Tuesday night! Her steadfast support of Steve Walts and his ability to pass budgets (no matter what alleged criminal activity he may have resorted to?) seemed to stop just short of her begging to have his baby. Please try to get a grip, Mary.

Rave
Joe Moscato's refusal to be silenced could just as well be placed under the "Rant" section at times. However, his willingness to make it clear that our Superintendent has taken to activities that the school board didn't authorize him to take (going to the DA without BOE authorization) deserves a huge "Rave" from the Greece community! It's about time that Steve A. be told he works for the BOE. Too bad the BOE President doesn't have the guts to pull in Steve's reins as necessary. Oh wait, that's another Rant ...

Rant
The lawyer/s who addressed the last few BOE meetings frequently sounds like he is/they are the Supt.'s (or individual BOE members) personal counsel!! Has anyone bothered to remind him that he works for the board of education to protect the taxpayers of this town?

Rave
The "community members" who spoke at the start of Resident's Forum are to be commended for their efforts even though we know you are all tied together, politically. You give a clear voice to the many who feel they can't speak freely for fear of retaliation, whether they be parents, district employees or just plain residents with something on their mind worth sharing with the wider Greece community.

Rant
Previous school board members, especially those with 15+ years of experience, should be deposed ASAP regarding the draft audit report. Let's get their comments on the record officially before they can spend too much time posturing to protect themselves and the administration/s they allowed to run amok.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

PWC BOE Stands Behind Walts Following Executive Session

Board Chairman-at-large Milt Johns issued a written statement saying Walts “continues to have the confidence of the Prince William County School Board. The Prince William County community can rest assured that the School Board has long-standing and transparent policies and audit procedures assuring integrity and effectiveness of all Division operations.”

D&C Story

Reaction To Draft Audit Report Hits Boardroom

“This was leaked prematurely to the press before any factual errors could be corrected. No matter what happens now, people will always remember what they first heard.” ~~ Frank Oberg

BOE voted to retroactively authorize Supt.Achramovitch to contact the state Atty General &Monroe County District Attorney tosk for a criminal investigation into the alleged mismanagement.

Moscato's motion asking BOE to revisit Walts’ contract after the final audit is released died for lack of a second

Bev Strehle said BOE must do three things to restore community trust:
1 - iniate a forensic audit of district finances from 1998 to 2008
2 - ask for a criminal investigation
3- suspend Walts’ health benefits.

D&C Story

Controversy Continues In PWCS

"We're trying show people how hard-working we are and how we need higher teacher salaries. To look at the county board of supervisors and say we need more money when you have all this baggage going on is not good." ~~ Anonymous Principal Who Fears Retaliation

Wash.Post
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GCSD & Town Sued By Mother of Sorrows For Negligence
Alleges Failure To Maintain Property At Old Church
Water Pipes Ruptured Causing Damages


D&C Story

Monday, February 11, 2008

Walts To Be Deposed In Donlon Discrimination Suit

"Steve is a consummate professional. I don't see any reason to be concerned. This has a lot to do with New York state politics and union politics and less about job performance." ~~ Milton C. Johns, PWC School Board Chairman

Wash.Post
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Agenda for 02/12/2008 BOE Meeting

It is anticipated that the BOE will go into an Exec. Session at 5:30 pm to discuss the Supt.'s goals & evaluation process
Comptrollers Audit ~~ Boily To Present a Resolution
Former Supt's Contract ~~ Moscato To Present A Motion
Communication Committee Report
Finance Committee Report
Transportation Committee Report
Audit Report ~~ Supt.
EXCEL Update * Construction Management Firm, *Bonding Resolution (W/A) ~~ Supt
Budget Review * Facilities, * Secondary Staffing, * Budget Development Update ~~ Supt
Update on K-5 Open Enrollment (O/I) ~~ Supt
First Read of Policy 7619 Use of Time Out Rooms (W/I)
First Read of Policy 8262 NCLB Written Complaint & Appeal Procedures (W/I)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Drug Problems Ignored At Arcadia?

Anonymous said...
Our secondary schools are totally out of control. Drugs are rampant at Arcadia. Someone better get out and start walking the halls. 2/09/2008 7:00 PM

Anonymous said...
There was a morning lockdown at Arcadia a week ago Friday. The Sheriffs walked their drug sniffing dogs through all student locker areas. Of course, we will never know the results. 2/09/2008 7:19 PM
Anonymous said...
Drugs are rampant on the inside of Arcadia. I know this from experience working there. Something needs to be done. If the board wants to know all they have to do is ask the principal, assistant principals and security people to testify.
2/09/2008 7:46 PM

Anonymous said...
"If the board wants to know all they have to do is ask the principal, assistant principals and security people to testify."Weren't the Principal and VP hired by MKC? The principal and MKC have history. Worked together in E. Irondequoit, and Fairport. No wonder that school is going down the crapper. Doesn't do anything but sit in her office. 2/10/2008 6:14 AM

"Betrayed"

"I am greatly disappointed and somewhat shocked. Most boards trust their superintendent, like most town boards trust their department heads. You have to believe in them, and how do you know until after it happens that your trust has been betrayed?" ~~ Gerald Phelan
D&C
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
High Pay, High Turnover ~~ Local Supt. Salaries Examined
Links To Area Supt. Contracts In D&C Article

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Washington Post Carries Walts & Audit Story

WashingtonPost.com

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Meeting Planned On Schools Chief

By Ian Shapira
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 9, 2008; Page B05

The Prince William County School Board has scheduled a meeting for Monday to discuss Superintendent Steven L. Walts's previous tenure in New York and a recent audit alleging that he and his former administration mismanaged millions of dollars when he presided over the Greece Central School District.

Without mentioning Walts, an audit from the New York state comptroller's office says that top Greece school officials in early 2005 used about $2.5 million in unauthorized funds to help pay for building renovations and a high school performing arts center.

The audit, first disclosed this week in the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, accuses then-members of the Greece Board of Education of "acquiescence to the demands and practices of a powerful Superintendent [that] resulted in a poor control environment in the District."

The audit says Greece school officials used money from the district's general fund toward those capital projects without the necessary voter approval, according to Joseph Moscato, a member of the Greece Board of Education.

Moscato added that Greece school officials this week contacted the state attorney general and the Monroe County district attorney's office to investigate.

Monday's meeting will be held in closed session, and School Board members declined to comment in detail.

Walts, who served as Greece superintendent from the late 1990s to July 2005, declined to comment through an assistant, citing the decision to hold Monday's meeting in private.

Prince William School Board members picked Walts in 2005 to succeed the late Edward L. Kelly, who held the job for 18 years.

PWCS Media, BLOGs Report Walts' Story As Probe Deepens

D&C Story ~~ BOE Says They'll Heed Audit ~~ "We are working behind the scenes to take every appropriate action." ~~ Julia VanOrman

MPNNewsOpinion ~~ "Residents have been subjected to too many unfounded assurances from a district and school board that too often kept kept their actions out of public scrutiny."

Virginia Virtucon BLOG ~~ "PWCS Schools Supt. Target of Investigation"

BlackVelvetBruceLI ~~ "Schools Supt. May Face Criminal Charges"

PWCSPressRelease ~~ "The Prince William County School Board is holding a closed-session special meeting on Monday, February 11, to consult with legal counsel regarding today’s reported newspaper allegations of financial mismanagement involving the Division Superintendent from his previous employer."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Potomac News Headline: "Superintendent target of N.Y. probe"

Draft Audit Makes News Near Walts;
Greece BOE To Consider Criminal Investigation;
May Disqualify Walts For Future Healthcare Coverage


"I have a motion on the agenda for this Tuesday's board meeting and basically it's to authorize that criminal charges against Walts be brought through the state's attorney general's office. The other part of the motion is that we'll be asking attorneys to look at [Walts' former contract] for violations that could disqualify him" from receiving certain benefits." ~~ Joe Moscato

"The audit also shows … $1 million paid to a construction manager that no one can find the addendum or contract for. So no one knows where that went, either." ~~ Bev Strehle, CARE Co-Pres.

Potomac News

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

From the email ...

ELEPHANTS – PEANUTS – AND LIFE-TIME HEALTH INSURANCE

Veteran school board member Robert Mueller says, [school] administrators “could walk an elephant out the door and you’d never see it unless you could smell the peanuts on its breath.” This is according to the recent article, “Money waste in Greece?” by McDermott (D&C, Feb 3rd).

Mr. Muller’s comment raises questions. Could the school board also walk an elephant out the door – as it appears to have done on Dec 14, 2004? Did BOE action on that date three years ago give life-time health insurance to the Superintendent?

For the record, Board Minutes for the Dec 14th date read as follows (page 11):

“BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Education of the Greece Central School District authorizes the Board President to execute that addendum to be effective December 14, 2004.

Moved: Phelan. Seconded: Mueller. Adopted 6-3 (Grason, Hubbard, Walsh opposed).”

The Minutes also record the presence of Board Members Hoffman, Peterson, Russell and Sweet, and Attorney Spitz.

But what addendum, you may ask, was being referred to in the motion? Where was/is the content documented as a public record? Where were the peanuts that Mr. Mueller claims are so necessary to smell an elephant going out the door?

Without further explanation, the public may conclude the only peanuts were the digested peanuts left behind... now in the bag held by a school district that must each year raise more taxes or deny its students. All this because a school board helped an elephant walk out the door!

George Hubbard

Audit Blames Walts

"The board's failure to develop sound policies to manage district resources, its unwillingness to monitor district finances, and its acquiescence of the demands and practices of a powerful superintendent resulted in a poor control environment in the district. When the tone at the top is poor, the internal control structure, which exists to protect district resources from misuse, can be weakened or easily circumvented. Ultimately, taxpayers pay the cost." ~~ From Draft Audit Report

“There’s a real strong indication in here that the school board is not representing the taxpayer. If the school board had their focus on representing the taxpayer, 99 percent of this stuff would never have happened.” ~~ Charlie Hubbard, BOE Member

“It doesn’t surprise me at all. We’ve had all sorts of indicators that some of this was going on. But no one could come forward for fear of losing their jobs, and we just couldn’t tie all the dots together financially.” ~~ Bev Strehle, CARE

“When we left Greece Central Schools, the project was on time and within budget. We worked within the established decision making structure that was in place and we deny any improprieties. We stand behind our decisions.” ~~ Keith Imon

"The board's lack of involvement, in some cases, and lack of information and power in other cases, allowed district officials to monopolize management of the CIP, overpay benefits to themselves and various employees, and circumvent the controls that did exist to run the district as they saw fit." ~~ Draft Audit Report

"Steve probably had the opportunity to make more decisions with respect to facilities and education than any of this predecessors. That doesn't mean the board gave him carte blanche, it simply means there was a lot going on." ~~ Bob Mueller, Former BOE Pres.

MPNNow

Moscato To Ask BOE To Refer Audit To NY State Atty General

"I want to know if the allegations in there rise to the level of a white-collar crime." ~~ Joe Moscato

"I want to know if there is enough to make a case for breach of his contract so we can terminate those benefits and let the chips fall where they may. If he wants to come up and sue us, then let him get in line." ~~ Joe Moscato (regarding potential termination of Steve Walts' lifetime health care benefits paid by GCSD since he left NY.)

"This community deserves better treatment than they have been given by the board and administration over the years." said Anne Miller, VP CARE

D&C
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If Steve Achramovitich were to deliver a "State of the School District Address", this list would summarize things:

Graduation Rates ~~ DOWN
Test Scores ~~ Mixed Results
Enrollment ~~ DOWN
Budget Total ~~ RISING
Community Trust of GCSD ~~ Shattered
Openness of BOE ~~ HaHaHaHa!!!!
Attorney Costs ~~ Skyrocketing
Lawsuits ~~ UP

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Anger Brews Over Audit Findings

Brief Public Meeting Is Start Of Long Process

"Auditors said they would not come to the meeting if we held it in open session." ~~ Patrick Tydings, BOE Member

Full Final Audit Report Expected In Late March

"The (school) board did not protect the district's financial interests from waste and abuse." ~~ Quote from audit draft

"These guys on the board are supposed to protect us. I'm a widow who worked hard to support two kids and pay my taxes, and we were being snowballed? What about us? What about the people?" ~~ Jeanne Colt, Greece resident

"My hope is that the residents won't take this out on the kids at the polls in May." ~~ Phil Hurwitz, former BOE candidate

D&C Story

D&C Editorial ~~ Calls For Criminal Investigation

Monday, February 04, 2008

Letter Details PWC Math Investigations Complaints

Hi All :

I had been in touch with all of you in Nov-Dec ’06 as I was gearing up to fight Math Investigations in PWC. I made two addresses to the board in Jan ’07 (I’ve attached them below … Walts showed no expression when I brought up GCSD). But the fight was too early, not enough parents had seen the effects of MI to put any real pressure on the administration. Unfortunately 36 hours after the second address, a routine 15-month checkup of my son showed a pre-cursor to leukemia. Thus, my focus quickly shifted from math to my son’s health (a month’s plus of testing showed that he was OK).

Now it is a year later and we have a web site, http://www.pwcteachmathright.com/ and a petition (with 900+ signatures) to show this is a widespread concern. We’ve also been helped considerably by very favorable coverage by several local newspaper reporters (Ian Shapira is one who I know has been in touch with some of you) and a spot on the local TV news. This Wednesday’s school board meeting will ratchet up the pressure another notch. We should have at least 10 parents speaking out against MI, written requests for information (the administration and their lawyer has stonewalled efforts for information until we brought FOIA into effect) and a precursor to a lawsuit.

Greg Barlow is the very articulate leader of the group. He and our core of about 13 parents are very interested in hearing the GCSD story. I’ve forwarded your websites, but some will be looking to get in touch with you via email. Doug, I know in the past you mentioned I could share your information with anyone. If the others of you don’t mind being contacted by other PWC parents (our core group), just send me a note to that effect. I won’t forward your information until then.

Thank you,
Steve Santee


Attachment Is Posted In Comments Area

C.A.R.E. CALLING FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION RELATED TO AUDIT

Bev Strehle to WOKR13 News at 5PM ~~
"They can not just
sweep it under the rug."

Brief Open Meeting Planned TONIGHT After Exec. Session

The Greece Central School District Board of Education will host a brief public meeting this evening to discuss the preliminary findings of an audit conducted by the State Comptroller's Office. The public meeting will follow a closed session with the auditor.

Interested community members are invited to attend the public meeting, which is expected to start sometime between 7:30 and 8 p.m., depending on when the auditor's meeting ends. It will be held in room E46, located on the third floor of Apollo Middle School, 750 Maiden Lane.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(It's really thoughtful that they will include the public, as an addendum, to their closed meeting ! )

WAKE UP GCSD! IT'S TIME TO OPEN YOUR DOORS WIDE & SHOW US HOW YOU CONDUCT BUSINESS.

THE DRAFT AUDIT VALIDATES THE FEELINGS OF DISTRUST AMONG THE SKEPTICS IN GREECE. OPEN YOUR DOORS TO PUBLIC SCRUTINY IF YOU WANT TO SEE ANY SUPPORT FOR FUTURE BUDGETS.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Scathing Audit of GCSD Uncovers Wasted Tax Dollars

GCSD Overspent;
Walts Admin. Avoided BOE Oversight;
Previous BOE Avoided Public Scrutiny


"The power of what this is going to do is monumental." ~~ Steve Walts, June 2000

"I really feel badly for those who were involved in the project and for those who are in the school district if such a great endeavor is going to be characterized otherwise." ~~ Keith Imon, who says audit findings don't match his recollection.

D&C STORY

Draft Audit Report ~~ RECOMMENDS 23 CHANGES BE MADE TO HOW GCSD DOES BUSINESS

"The board did not protect the district's financial interests from waste and abuse. The board's failure to develop sound policies to manage district resources, its unwillingness to monitor district finances and its acquiesence to the demands and practices of a powerful superintendent resulted in a poor control environment in the district." (audit excerpts)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Exec. Session With State Comptroller's Monday!

02/04/2008 Special Meeting 5:30 pm

The BOE will meet

with the State Comptrollers
Office Auditors

Friday, February 01, 2008

BREAKING NEWS!!

Draft audit cites
mismanagement
in GCSD


"The board did not protect the district's financial interests from waste and abuse."

STORY

Town Hall Meeting: School Taxes Could Rise 6%!!

Supt. Discusses Impact of FAIR PLan on District Budget

Greece Legislator Dick Beebe ~~ "It's a tough situation and unfortunate, it looks like the tax payers may have to take the brunt of this in the fall with their school tax bill."

Senator Joe Robach ~~ "One of my fears when this plan initially was it was gonna be a way to back door and give more money only to New York City and not our school districts up here."

"The Greece Superintendent would not give us a specific number when it comes to a possible school tax increase. Legislator Dick Beebe said it could be as high as 6%." ~~ WHEC.com

SCATS WONDERS ~~ WHY COULD MR. BEEBE PROVIDE THIS FIGURE, BUT OUR OWN SUPT. COULD NOT? Maybe we should ask Mr. Beebe to present the budget to the BOE and fire Achromovitch!