Someone made an anonymous comment to Plaintalker early Sunday that included a sensational allegation against a school official.
Never mind that I saw it around 5 a.m. and then had to Google around to see what it was all about, the fact is that it was the first comment that I will most likely reject (Blogger.com allows its users to publish or reject comments on any particular blog).
The comment included links to three news articles from July. Checking around, I discovered the July report of the state Department of Education Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance on the issues. Click here
to read the eight-page report that led to the news articles.
It seems that after a former schools superintendent and former business administrator/board secretary Gary Ottmann
left the Wayne Township school district, the new interim BA/BS raised questions about certain past expenditures and tax matters. The OFAC checked, made findings, and called for a corrective action plan.
The Wayne Township district also commissioned an audit that resulted in a 31-page analysis of petty cash expenses over a four-year period.
The corrective action plan on the last page of the OFAC report basically called for remediation without the drama implied by the person who sent the potentially libelous comment to Plaintalker. The "potential tax liability" was referred to the state Division of Taxation, while the Wayne district was to correct wage reporting documents and seek recovery of any unauthorized expenditures by the two former administrators.
In response to Plaintalker’s query, Board of Education president Bridget Rivers
said she was traveling and was unaware of the report. Plaintalker sent a link to Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III
, who noted the report contained OFAC findings regarding the Wayne Township school district and replied, “It would not be prudent for me to speak on another district's findings. However, the information in the report does provide additional information upon which Plainfield Public Schools can address, assess, and monitor its own internal controls and processes.”
Ottmann did not respond as of Sunday evening, somewhat understandably on the weekend.
For the record, Ottmann served 13 years as BA/BS in Plainfield before going to Wayne, where he served in the same role from January 18, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2007. He was hired back in Plainfield under the administration of Interim Superintendent Garnell Bailey
in December 2007 at a salary of $155,000 and began work here in January 2008. Most recently, he received a salary increase to $161,588 following a contract settlement with the Plainfield Administrators and Supervisors.
The Plainfield district has had its own go-round with the OFAC, regarding circumstances around the hiring of former Interim Superintendent Peter E. Carter
.The office investigated and determined that board attorney Raymond Hamlin
failed to disclose that Carter, whom he recommended for the post, was his client in another matter. Also the meeting at which Carter was hired did not meet requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act, the agency found, but because no one questioned it within the required time frame, the issue was moot. The district appealed findings of the October 2007 OFAC report and then appealed a state rejection of the first appeal. Plaintalker does not know the current status of the matter. Click here
to view that report.--Bernice Paglia