State audit faults Marlboro’s top two school officials for possible conflict

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MARLBORO – The superintendent and assistant superintendent of schools in the Marlboro Central School District had part ownership and a private interest in a limited liability company that provided services to the district.
An audit of the district’s books indicated the company received
$45,342 between February 3, 2006 and April 18, 2008, some of which was
for “report card services,” after being recommended by the
superintendent.
The audit also found that when services were no longer provided by the LLC, the superintendent recommended and the school board approved the LLC’s principal owner to continue providing the district with a similar service for which he was paid $28,800 between March 2010 and June 2013. The superintendent also signed an agreement for $7,800 for the 2013-14 school year for online software support and report card services provided by his business associate, the LLC’s principal owner.
State investigators also found that the assistant superintendent, who was also an LLC owner, signed an order authorizing agreement for $5,800 for the LLC’s principal owner to provide report card service for the 2011-12 school year.
Auditors questioned whether the two officials complied with the district’s code of ethics.
“To avoid any appearance of partiality or self-interest, the superintendent and assistant superintendent, as district officials, should not have participated in matters affecting their business associate,” the state report said.
The audit recommended that the school district ensure that officials do not participate in the process of awarding contracts to their private business associates; evaluate the contract with the LLC’s principal owner and determine whether it is in the best interests of the district; seek competition from potential vendors and award the contract for the report card service on the basis of a competitive process; and enter into written agreements with all professional service providers, which should identify the service to be provided and the basis for compensation.
In response to the audit’s findings, School Board President William Bell wrote that the board members “have taken, and will continue to take, steps to address the comptroller’s recommendations.”