Asst. Superintendent of Finance deserves more respect and support than what supporters of former Administration are showing!

DISCLAIMER:The following is my personal opinion and may not be agreed with or supported by a majority of the School Committee.

It is one thing to blindly support people, especially people who have put us in this financial turmoil, it is in my opinion disrespectful for my “ fellow members” loyal to the former administration to attempt to cast doubt on the information the current Assistant Superintendent of Finance supplies by trying to go around her and filing a motion that gives the impression they don’t trust the information she’s providing!

Our new Asst Superintendent of Finance has done a remarkable job considering the fiscal chaos she inherited and has worked beyond any expectation to try to clean up the fiscal mess the former Superintendent and Asst Superintendent of Finance left behind. Including recently discovering a possible case of embezzlement!

Instead of Thanking and Supporting her and appreciating her dedication and efforts, two supporters of the former administration, file this disrespectful motion!

7.IV.
[By Dominik Hok Lay And Robert Hoey]:
Request that the City Council instruct the city Auditor to provide the members of the School Committee with quarterly reports on the money spent in each line item of the school department budget throughout the fiscal year.

Why do I call it disrespectful? They could have filed a motion that requested the current Asst Superintendent of Finance to run and present a munis report which is what the Auditor would do.

It has been clearly shown in the last 12 months that neither one of these two committee members have shown any understanding of what that type of report is, neither has shown they would understand the report and neither obviously know it is already provided every quarter by the Auditor to the City Council and it is available in the City Council packet which is a public document that they these two elected officials should know is available on line.

In addition neither one of them would be able to understand the format the current Munis report from the Auditor is presented in because it is presented broken down by each individual school and not presented in the form of the budget that the School Committee approves, which neither one of them can understand anyway as witnessed by the numerous times Mr. Lay has stated “I don’t understand” at several public meetings dealing with finances.

They could have requested a meeting of the Finance Subcommittee which Mr. Lay is a member to follow up on my June motion that they voted for or simply they could have ask for a recommendation of the current Asst Superintendent of Finance on how she will present a monthly or quarterly report to the committee.

Instead they continue to show their support for the former administration by asking for a fiscal report from an Auditor instead of from the person we has a School Committee hire because she has shown the incompetence of the people these two continue to blindly support.

Instead they request information from an Auditor who accepted a multi-million dollar budget that was never accompanied by the vote of the school committee, an Auditor who allowed the previous administration to close the last fiscal year before all bills had been paid and from an auditor who didn’t see any possible embezzlement or didn’t notice overpayments to current or former employees .

Even more troubling is these two, who supported the fiscal malfeasance of the former administration, are being disrespectful to the current assistant superintendent by implying that a report from the Auditor would show anything different than she would.

The School Committee does have a Finance Subcommittee consisting of myself, Andy Decouteaux and Dominic Lay. On June 20th I offered the following motion that was approved by the entire School Committee.

Date: June 20, 2018
Time: 6:30PM
7.VIII. [By Gerard Nutter]: Request the Superintendent supply School Committee with a copy of Budget submitted to Auditor on day it is submitted and schedule a Finance Subcommittee meeting to review how information regarding the budget will be reported to the School Committee going forward.
Mr. Nutter made a motion to approve; seconded by Ms. Doherty. 7 yeas APPROVED

The former Administration who Mr. Hoey and Mr. Lay supported to the bitter end and still support NEVER followed through on the motion and ignored the School Committee and never supplied the Committee with a copy of that Budget. Yet neither Mr. Hoey or Mr. Lay ever brought in a motion to ask why not?

In fact I filed a motion for the July 18th regular School Committee meeting to ask why we were again ignored-

6.III. [By Gerard Nutter]:
Superintendent report why the passed motion of -” supply School Committee with a copy of Budget submitted to Auditor on day it is submitted” was ignored and not carried out considering the budget was submitted to Auditor on June 22nd.

However we never got around to getting an explanation because we voted to terminate the former Superintendent for among other things not responding to motions!

I would have called for meetings of the Finance Subcommittee sooner but up until recently other matters like a $2.4 Million Dollar deficit and dealing with another $2 million owed to the revolving food service account caused by th previous administration have taken priority but these two members continue to try support the former Administration over our 14,000 students.

The fact is in the 3 plus years under Gary Frisch, Mr. Hoey never requested a report from the City Auditor but now with a female Asst. Supt. of Finance who has to clean up this fiscal mess after Hoey allowed the finances to get to this point for almost 3 years and Lay allowed it for seven months without question they suddenly want a report from someone other than the Asst Superintendent of Finance.

I was hoping that the supporters of the former administration would realize they backed the people responsible for our current situation and move on to work WITH the new administration and clean up the fiscal malfeasance they contributed to but since they continue to support the former administration that caused the finances to get to this point and Mr. Lay by his own admission doesn’t understand things, I probably should have known better.

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One thought on “Asst. Superintendent of Finance deserves more respect and support than what supporters of former Administration are showing!

  1. John L McDonough

    Hi Gerry,

    Committee members Bob Hoey and Dominik Lay have made their position clear to me: we elected the school committee to give our students the best education possible and the committee continues to work to that end.

    Our new school finance interim chief financial officer, Billie Jo Turner, is doing the best job she can. She took the job knowing what she was getting into and that situation worsened when she was not allowed to communicate with former district chief financial officer Gary Frisch.

    Bob Hoey and Dominik Lay’s motion for monthly reports is a good idea. Now committee members can compare month to month progress. Gerry, you are well known as the “school budget watchdog” and we are lucky to have you. I believe all heads turn to you when an understandable answer to a complicated question regarding our too complex budget is asked.

    Many elected officials in both past and present administrations, on the city and school sides of the budget, don’t understand it. Even some department heads don’t understand their own department’s budget. I think that sometimes their pride prevents them from asking probing questions and that’s unfortunate. The fact of the matter is that the budget put out is hard to understand and process by an average person and we all deserve to understand the budget. Below I have copied your link to support my opinion:

    http://www.lowellma.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/7400?fileID=17732

    I hope blog readers looked at the link and scrolled down on the 35 pages. I don’t think a majority of our elected officials can process the budget put before them and they just hope for the best.

    I liked the old fashioned way, the line by line lengthy process of each departments budget being discussed and agreed on, perhaps we have a law now preventing this? Otherwise I don’t know why it changed. I know our elected officials of any generation aren’t afraid of a little hard work. It’s no surprise Lowell is becoming unaffordable and I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.

    One solution: Present the budget in a way that anyone can understand.

    Thanks for your excellence Gerry.

    John
    John McDonough

    p.s. Good Luck on WCAP 980AM Salvation Army Radioathon

    Reply

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