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October 17, 2008

DiNapoli: West Genesee CSD Increased Superintendent’s
Longevity Payment by $39k Days Before He Retired

West Genesee Central School District increased a retiring superintendent’s longevity payment by $39,000 just 11 days before he retired, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“In today’s economic climate, school districts need to watch every dime they’re spending,” DiNapoli said. “Longevity payments are tools to recruit talented individuals. They should not be used as parting gifts to retiring administrators. West Genesee school district set a bad example of frivolously spending taxpayers’ money.”

The audit, which covered July 2006 to June 2007, found that the school board approved a $39,000 increase in the retiring superintendent’s longevity payment, bringing the total amount of the payment to $156,000, just 11 days before the superintendent retired. Auditors also discovered the board eliminated transparency in its actions by not disclosing what contractual changes were made when the board voted on the measure.

Auditors also determined the district did not comply with General Municipal Law when it contracted with a company that a school board member partly owned. The board member had a prohibited conflict of interest in the $29,749 contract for computer services.

DiNapoli’s office recommends that district officials:

  • be more transparent to the public by specifying changes and amendments to employee contracts in board resolutions;
  • analyze whether it is prudent to increase longevity payment for employees who have already announced they are leaving the district; and
  • ensure that the district does not enter into contracts in which a district official or employee has a prohibited conflict of interest.

District officials generally agreed with the audit’s recommendations and indicated they planned to take corrective action.

Click here for a copy of the audit.

School District Accountability
In order to improve accountability of the state’s schools, DiNapoli’s office will audit all of New York’s 834 school districts, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and charter schools by 2010. The State Comptroller’s office has completed 490 school audits and approximately 200 school audits are currently underway.


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