JTSD places business manager on leave; launches second investigation
The Jim Thorpe Area School District board of directors has placed the district’s business manager on leave and ordered an internal investigation into her office following a recent forensic review.
Lauren Kovac says she stands behind the work she has done as business manager, and believes she is the victim of a witch hunt.
“I look forward to the results of this investigation, and having it clear my name. I truly believe that there will be no findings that will be to the detriment to the district, and to my moral or professional character,” she said.
At a special meeting Tuesday night, the board voted to place Kovac on paid leave effective Sept. 11, while the district conducts an internal investigation into her performance and the procedures and processes of the business office. Kovac’s salary was $96,305 in 2018-19.
The board was in agreement about conducting the investigation, but not about putting Kovac on leave as it is completed.
Dennis McGinley, Clement McGinley and Michael Principe voted against the decision to place Kovac on leave. John Ciavarella was absent.
McGinley said that he has seen no proof that Kovac has done anything illegal, unethical or contrary to her responsibilities as district business manager.
“I haven’t seen that yet. But I do welcome another look from an auditor as well as another legal team, which will hopefully clear her name,” he said.
He added that the board has a responsibility to its taxpayers to ensure that district employees are not acting inappropriately.
Levin Legal Group PC and an accounting firm, EisnerAmper, will assist Superintendent John Rushefski in conducting the investigation.
The decision to investigate the business office comes after the board received the results of a 10-month, $15,000 forensic review of potential misuse of district credit cards by Kovac and former Superintendent Brian Gasper.