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Stoughton School Department will Comply with Town Accountant's Audit Request

Stoughton School Committee Chair Deborah Sovinee and Superintendent of Stoughton Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi issued a statement saying the "Stoughton School District has no reservations about a payroll audit."

Editor's Note: The following is a statement co-signed by Stoughton School Committee Chair Deborah Sovinee and Superintendent of Stoughton Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi in response to a request from Town Accountant Bill Rowe to perform an audit of the school's payroll operation after members of the Board of Selectmen expressed concerns over lack of documentation to back up the numbers on the December 12/13 payroll warrant item on the Selectmen's agenda.

The schools, according to the statement, will comply with the audit request.

The original article about the planned audit is here:

The statement from the School Committee Chair and Superintendent is below.

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STATEMENT FROM SCHOOL COMMITTEE CHAIR SOVINEE & SUPERINTENDENT RIZZI:

We wish to be very clear, the Stoughton School District has no reservations about a payroll audit. Although it has not been done before, this should be a normal procedure. The auditor has all the information that he has always had, and has never indicated a problem.  A sample audit is good practice and the School District has all the documentation to back up the payroll warrant. We believe that complete transparency is in our interest, and that of the entire town. We hope that payroll audits become policy for all departments in town.

An independent audit funded by the Finance Committee performed two years ago found School District Finances to be exemplary. We hope that action towards that distinction will be pursued town-wide.

Documentation requests from the municipal government have been answered, some things sent numerous times. There is no hesitation in complying with any reasonable request that is motivated strictly by good governance.  

It is our continued intention to join with the municipal government in working together, with respect for our appropriate roles.  

Deborah Sovinee, Chair, Stoughton School Committee
Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools

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Dr. Erdem A. Ural December 19, 2012 at 03:15 AM
For the sake of accuracy, the operational audit funded by the Finance Committee examined the records for 40 Town employees and 10 school employees. The ratio was obviously disproportinonate considering Stoughton roughly has 200 Town employees and 600 school employees. The audit report states: "Of the (10) school department employees tested, we noted (1) employee for which authorization for the rate being charged could not be traced to a signed contract or Superintendent authorization. This employees rate however, was traced to a School Committee authorized rate for non-union employees." The report also says: In accordance with MGL, Chapter 41, Section 57, "the Town Accountant shall have custody of all contracts of the Town". We noted school contract and bidding information is maintained at the school department. In addition, we remind Town personnel that grant awards and contracts also fall under this requirement. The operational audit report filled with many useful findings and recommendation can be downloaded from the Finance Committee Web Page: http://www.stoughton.org/Finance/FinComDocs/Operational%20Audit?plugin=RWD&templates=RWD&&printversion=2
townmeeting1 December 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Disappointment....... Thanks for keeping the public informed. When I first read the article about Mr. Rowe I was a little disappointed that checks and balances were not in place already? If you authorize a payment you should have documentation to support that payment? If you don't why are you paying it? What is it with the school department and supplying documentation?? First she indicated she would fight Mr. Rowes request, now she will comply?? Just like the school committe meeting when you requested support documentation to "verify" that reports to the state had been submitted and then she "dictates" that those request go through the chair? Last time I checked it was a "Public School System" any infomation pertaing to funding should be readily available ... If you had done it in a timely fashion we wouldn't be talking about it....

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