Audit suggests wasteful spending by Rochester School Board

Yesterday, an audit of the Rochester School Board’s financial spending between July 2002 and September 2008 leaked to the Democrat ‘ Chronicle. The audit, conducted by the Office of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, suggests that the Rochester School Board has been irresponsible in its financial spending and contractual policies, consistently exploiting loopholes.

The audit laid most of the blame on former superintendent from 2002 to 2007, Manuel Rivera, who is currently the executive of an education consulting firm. According to the audit, Rivera reportedly compensated his personally appointed Cabinet $164,550 in undocumented bonuses and salaries. There were also 58 service contracts worth $2.6 million that were awarded without requests for bids.

The report also highlighted several consultants who were hired even after district officials expressed reasonable suspicion that the contractors weren’t carrying out their duties.
The audit was conducted as a part of DiNapoli’s initiative to review the board’s financial information from 2002 through 2008.

Malik Evans, who joined the board in 2004 and rose to presidency in 2008, told the Democrat ‘ Chronicle that the audit is ‘old news” that the board has already motioned to correct this throughout 2009. He added that the audit highlighted a period of ‘bureaucratic arrogance” that no longer exists.

Current Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard expressed frustration that the audit leaked to the Democrat ‘ Chronicle before the board had an opportunity to respond. Board officials scheduled exit interviews with the auditors yesterday.

Xerox seeks to expand

Xerox Rochester Corporation, the fifth-largest employer of residents, may move up the list pending an acquisition of Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services Incorporated (ACS).

The deal, which is waiting on Xerox and ACS shareholder approval in early 2010, would increase the size of the company by 46 percent and its earnings by 36 percent.

A financial analysis showed that Xerox earned $17.6 billion last year. However, if Xerox owned ACS, the earnings would have been $23.9 billion.

The Connecticut-based document and imaging company employs over 6,900 Rochester residents, making Rochester its largest base.

The acquisition would cost Xerox $6.4 billion. To finance the deal, representatives from Xerox plan to offer senior secured notes.

Jerome Nathaniel is a member of the class of 2011.
Information compiled from the Democrat ‘ Chronicle.

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