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Lehighton orders audit of district finances

Published June 29. 2019 06:19AM

Lehighton Area School District’s board of directors agreed Monday night to seek proposals from firms willing to do a forensic audit of the district’s finances.

The motion made by director David Bradley passed unanimously.

“I would welcome a forensic audit,” said Patricia Denicola, Lehighton’s business administrator, who has been on the job since March. “I would not recommend using the district’s existing auditor, however. I believe a new set of eyes sees things a little more clearly.”

Bradley cited Jim Thorpe Area School District, Penn Hills, Scranton and several other districts as examples of why he pushed for a forensic audit in Lehighton.

“These are all situations where the board failed to oversee subordinate employees,” Bradley said. “Things get kicked down the road. That’s been happening here for at least 10 years. It doesn’t make it right.”

Jim Thorpe authorized a forensic audit in November after potential misuse of credit cards within the school district. The state auditor general’s office reviewed Scranton School District finances from 2012-16 and called it, “by far the worst debt situation of any school district in the state.”

Lehighton resident Barb Bowes commented Monday that she can also find the benefit in a forensic audit.

“Given the district’s $4.5 million budget deficit, I don’t think it’s a bad idea,” she said. “I’m not saying there is any money missing, but this community is upset. There is a distrust given some things that have happened over the past how many years.”

While the general financial statement audit takes a broader look at financial record keeping, the forensic audit is more specialized.

“The forensic audit looks deeper into things,” Denicola said. “It is usually looking for a particular type of transaction or type of event.”

Lehighton did not immediately have a cost estimate for a forensic audit.

Jim Thorpe’s agreement with Brown Schultz Sheridan and Fritz of Camp Hill calls for between $100 and $325 per hour, depending on the BSSF employee who conducts the work. There would be additional expenses if any legal action results from the audit where BSSF would have to testify. The agreement requires Jim Thorpe to put up a retainer of $5,000 before work can begin on the forensic audit.

As for a timeline in Lehighton, Superintendent Jonathan Cleaver said the request for proposals would likely take around 30 days to get together and around another month to allow the firms to respond before moving forward.

Comments
Dear community,

Good morning. Tirelessly we will erode the corruption and waste giving the stakeholders their rightful place, holding this government accountable as public servants.

It is about time a real audit was done.

Those knowing they are taking advantage of the stakeholders will come out chastising the transparency. They should be afraid, and their fear and outspokenness will be obvious.

The next step is an operational management review.

This will allow professionals, and not rubes on the Hometown team, to look at removing the massive excesses in redundancy and waste. From personal use of district resources, to staff, OT, and the costs of uncontracted benefits recieved by the friends and family within the district. Transparency and proper government oversight is coming to Lehighton, one step at a time. The rubber-stamping crony block voters, Larry Stern, Wayne Wentz, Steve Holland, Andrew Yenser and Rita Spinelli will be exposed fir who they are.

Once we get some new eyes in the Solicigir seat, we can remove the legal fights with special needs children that cost both parties, taking from the student's educational funds.

How did a district go from having a $13M general funds, spending it, and expanding the operational budget to $44 in a few short years? I see it as lack of proper oversight. The "Hometown team" members currently on the board are taking advantage of the ignorance their neighbors footing the bill.

This district hates transparency to the point they, (Larry, Wayne, Steve, Rita and Andy Yenser) authorized spending money on attorneys to fight the constitutionality of the RTK law. Educational monies flush to our Solicitor. Shameless in their actions as government officials. Why would anyone waste money on trying to challenge an existing law with money allocated for "teachers, books and pencils".

A normal person would have recognized this government has taken an oath. These government officials are sworn to uphold the laws we have, not take on the actions to be a lobbyist against them. That opportunity is reserved for private groups trying to block transparency.

This bizarro world of corruption and waste is coming to an end. The budget proposed by me, the one that cuts out the corruption and waste was balanced and had a slight tax decrease. It raised the pay of support staff to close the revolving door of low wage staff, reducing administration costs. Proper business mangement, give the money to those producing the work and retain good workers.

Favoritism, cronyism and corruption have run their course. Time for the stakeholders to regain their lawful place, and elect a board that will act as a public servant.

Not one additional educational benefits was mentioned in the budget that grew 10% in a few months. Conies are focused on one thing, your wallets.

Director Andrew Yenser (Treasurer) that didn't catch the $3.8M shortfall. Really?

President Larry Stern that claimed immunity in his Sunshine violation(s).
Vice President Wayne Wentz that met with the Superintendent.

Rubber-stamping Rita, and Steve Holland should recognize they failed to Honor their Oath of Office.

Like all citizens, we are the judge and jury of our government officials and our decisions are voiced in letters to the editor, social media, and in the ballot box. The 'lost' 3.8M was announced just day before the primary.

How can a treasurer miss $3.8M when the district only spends about $3M a month?
Do think this is gross incompetence or an insider looking the other way? Either way Director Andrew Yenser needs a good talking to by his family and friends that he let down. He hides from the the rest of us that he let down. Did he know prior to his decision not to run again? Do you think the board should hold a public inquiry? I sure do, as public servants we should all answer to the public.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.
You must be slipping in your outrage. A good half dozen spelling and grammatical errors.
And what is with the newfound character assassination of Andrew Yenser? You are going way too personal, referencing his family and using terminology that is belittling.
You can criticize the decisions of the board, which you are a member of, but you still act like you are the village crank and on the sidelines. You need to stop grandstanding about each and every little item as if every one of them is a hill to die on.
Does everyone agree about everything? No. Is there politics in school government? Naturally.
AND THEIR DECISIONS ARE EVERY BIT AS RIGHTEOUS IN THEIR EYES AS YOUR DECISIONS ARE IN YOUR EYES.
Now, climb down off that high horse of yours and actually try to help instead of just throw bombs.
Citizen Kane,

Good.morning. My budget solved these issues by correcting the current course of immorality.

Your argument is an arguement, and I like it. But. Grammar and typos are a standard by product of big thumbs little keys. The overall message remains clear.

The actions these people took as government officials were immoral.
Andrew Yenser, Larry Stern. Wayne Wentz, Rita Spinelli, Steve Holland, David Krause, Jack Finnigan, Gloria Bowman, even Frank Ruch (rest his soul), all had the chance to morally steer this government to a sustainable end. Instead we have a the mess of an immoral decisions making process made by a elected government.

So, if gramar & speling becom ur focus, and not the immoral decisions of a feckless board, you too will be lost. As to err in the path of righteous correction of spelling and miss the opportunity to correct this government's ills.

Consider some moral questions.

Do you repeatedly spend more than you take in? Should you?
Would you accept a teacher's resignation that predated his date of arrest after he admitted to corruption of a minor charges? Should you?
Would you skip the maintenance and repairs of a school that had been identified as needing required safety related repairs?
Would you skip the safety repairs til summer?
How about several years?
How did they get broken and not maintained, who was at the helm?
How about when several years had past and the same required safety related repair are list on the same report type of report was created by the same architect? When would you take action to make safety related repairs for the building our children were attending class?
Should you borrow, create liabilities, in the hundreds of millions of dollars in obligations and create a burden of debt upon our children and our children's children for luxury items to be consumed by a generation?
Would you lie, obstruct or create misleading documents or false statements? Should you?
If you were Andrew Yenser, Treasurer of the Lehighton Area School District, would anyone be able to slip a couple million dollars past you for payment?
If you were Andrew Yenser's parent or cousin, family member, or father-in-law, would you demand a public apology if you found out the treasurer acted with blind-trust and offered a rubber-stamping, abdication of their elected authority as a public official to the very people they were elected to oversee? Would you give him a pass? If your five year old screws up and make an immoral decision, wouldn't you correct them, and isn't the apology part of the learning process?

What if these relatives were other board members holding the same responsibility to inspect records? Add cover? Or demand an apology so the error can be vetted and corrected by future treasurers.
What if these relatives were teachers or staff getting furloughed for poor business practices? Would thet demand an explanation?
If the Yenser's relative(s) owns businesses or are community leaders, church goers or just home owners, would you demand your government official, your treasurer, your friend, to apologize for not doing the easiest job possible? BTW, the treasurer's job is to oversee the disbursement of government funds.

My demands for transparency were block by the five evil ones. Whereas, I did find mistakes and corrected many. I personally offered Andy the opportunity in every meeting prior the vote to verify he checked these payments the ones we are now learning about and his character may have some seriously flawes.

Government officials need to be careful. Immorality, incompetence or just pure nieve actions of an evil person, can lead a government down a slippery slope of corruption.

Citizen Kane, look at the immoral actions of this feckless government. Ad hominem arguments about my grammar and spelling only add the cover to which good men allow evil to permeate our government.

These were evil actions of immorality by people with elected authority. One claimed immunity from the law. I find that a ahameless act.

Focused on the evil the cure is easy, stakeholder transparency.
The cure is proper decision making through stakeholder input.
The cure is following existing codes of conduct like prescribed in School Policy, PA School Code and let the stakeholder have the local control over the path, with public servants delivering the legal means and transparent reporting of the same.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.

PS. I like your focus on the family members. I would feel guilty if I let my elected official family member screw over an entire community resulting is tax increases, possible furloughs and possible educational cutbacks.

My budget solved these issue with a moral standard, correcting the course on immoral spending.

Please, do not sign any agreement that includes confidential results. Jim Thorpe’s agreement stipulated that they cannot release the results of the forensic audit, without the firms approval. How does that advance transparency?
No one could ever be that stupid given the ability to learn from the recent history of JT.
Oh wait, we have Hometown team members on our board.

Wayne Wentz is a self-proclaimed Hometown team member.

History denial teams that only look forward can be a dangerous mix of arrogance and stupidity.

Wayne Wentz, Rita Spinelli, Larry Stern, Andrew Yenser and Steve Holland are the block voting five on the Lehighton district's board. As they fail to protect our student's educational funds, it appears the incompetence of our treasurer, Director Andrew Yenser, has once again cost the district. The need for a proper forensic audit and transparency are paramount.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
Failed Director Andrew Yenser will probably team with RubberStamping Rita, Wayne Wentz, Larry Stern, and Steve Holland to create all sorts of havoc surrounding this audit once they realize they are the ones on the hook.

I trust the old business manager maintained a copy of all the transactions prior to his departure.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
I think it's about time Citizen Dave starts acting like an elected official instead of a tabloid news reporter. An audit in this situation is a practical decision, not a political breakthrough.

I applaud his quest for transparency, but it seems as he is acting more from his personal agenda and not in the stakeholders/taxpayers best interests.
Damn straight. I am on a mission from God (Blues Brothers rsfrrrncd), to root out the evil actions of an immoral governmental agency.

If it looks like a vendetta, it is not, I am a pretty simple man.
I do have thick skin and broad shoulders. The censure, rebuke, sanctions, censored, and reprimands these evil ones cast upon me were standard defenses causing. We were prepared for such as other resigned from such treatment, I will not.as thoss actions were misplaced. I will not leave the side of the stakeholders. I went into this government knowing they would do these thing and others, but I am here to fix it.

Watch the show. The fall of this house of cards is just starting.

Sincerely.

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.

When they destroy me, as I am human. I will be a martyr for others to follow. Transparency is coming, I am but a man who adopted the ideas of our founding fathers to rid evil from those with authority. A moral path.

Mr. Bradley, it does look like a vendetta. Given your very well documented "fued" with the school board, both current and past members... wrong, right or indifferent, that is what it looks like. That, coupled with some of your own questionable antics, does not reflect favorably on you.
SurroundedByIdiots,

Good morning. As for tabloid reporting, the chaos in the Lehighton District government is a reality show. This is a political breakthrough, transparency has tightened the noose on corruption. Through a relentless campaign of rigid principles and by following logical guidelines, we have succeeded in toppling this house of cards.

If Director Andrew Yenser resigns from his apparent complete failure to perform the duties of treasurer, with your surname SurroundedByIdiots, you'd fit right in.

We look forward to persons of character taking the seats of the shills we see rubber-stamping the administration. Rita Spinelli, Wayne Wentz, Larry Stern, Andrew Yenser and Steve Holland should all resign. Director Yenser failed us when offered his blind trust. It is disgusting to see community members from families like the Wentz and Yenser's totally screw up a simple political position like overseeing children's educational benefits. Such a simple responsibility, all it takes is a bit of character and a willingness to honor the Oath of Office.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
Demand auditor general's office assign accounting firm, and quit bashing Bradley. He has been transparent, he is aligning board to follow law, and has been pretty much spot on overall. Taxpayers are sick and tired of being abused.
Didn't Build A Board literally get swept off the ballot in May? It's very hard to draw that conclusion when the taxpayers voted the way they did.

And as far as "bashing" Bradley... I don't see any bashing and my comment was an observation. Mr. Bradley often comes off as juvenile... not passionate as many claim. I think he has had a lot of good ideas, he just lacks the ability to articulate them professionally and constructively.
Yes, we got swept off the ballot in May. And at the moment, the only choices in November are those who helped to create this financial mess and one newcomer. I implore any Independents out there that are willing and able, to step up and get on the ballot to give the voters other options in November.
That's not the point I was making... as usual, the point was missed. Build A Board hides behind the premise that taxpayers are sick of the current board... and yet, they voted them all back in. Please explain your rationale behind your argument, as I see it, you have no grounds for said argument.
Bashing these immoral idiots is so much more fun. Especially when the immorality has been identified and announced for years.

As for constructive criticism and advice, please recognize the following.

Our budget with a tax decrease
Method of picking a forensic auditor
Resignation of Yenser as Treasurer and Director.
Removing the PSBA
Changing the hiring practices
Following the law
Opening of the books.
Student's rights
Stop immorally challenges to special education students

Just to name a few. Can't I have fun doing both? Can exposing Krause, Bowman, Finnigan, Yenser, Wentz, Stern, Spinelli and Holland be entertainerment so the citizens can pay attention for the professional fix by directors with a moral set of rigid principles, as an elected officials?

Just ssyin.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.



Bashing these immoral idiots is so much more fun. Especially when the immorality has been identified and announced for years.

As for constructive criticism and advice, please recognize the following.

Our budget with a tax decrease
Method of picking a forensic auditor
Resignation of Yenser as Treasurer and Director.
Removing the PSBA
Changing the hiring practices
Following the law
Opening of the books.
Student's rights
Stop immorally challenges to special education students

Just to name a few. Can't I have fun doing both? Can exposing Krause, Bowman, Finnigan, Yenser, Wentz, Stern, Spinelli and Holland be entertainerment so the citizens can pay attention for the professional fix by directors with a moral set of rigid principles, as an elected officials?

Just ssyin.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley Sr.



Surrounded,

Good morning. You can not find a more passionate advocate for lawful transparency and student's rights.

As for juvenile - I'll embrace the adjective as my humor is sophomoric and my dad jokes are quite legendary. As for articulating ideas, your seam to understand them, give people credit, transparency is a pretty simple concept, I am sure most of the people understand it.

As for professional, we introduce things in this order. Polite, professional, written, then with documented references, proof, explanations, and finally with the utter subtlety of a hammer on nail repeatedly bashing the hell out of the point until the nail is buried, and the task is complete.

Comedy is a wonderful method of dealing with the tragedy that our elected officials turned a blind eye to their Oath of Office, gave a blind-trust to the administration they were elected to oversee and buried this community in the legacy of debt. I hope the community says That's all folks, to Yenser, Wentz, Spinelli, Stern or Holland who failed to honor their oath of office.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
Amen! ten years we have tried to 'work' with the Lehighton District government. They offered lip service, and buried the town in a legacy of debt, and raised the taxes. We need to fix this from the inside, these board members do not listen, and one claimed immunity. End the corruption, remove them from office.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley, SR.
A forensic audit is expensive but unfortunately is needed to find out what actually occurred. It is also very time consuming and will not be completed prior to the election IMO. The bottom line is that the buck stops with the board. They are the ones responsible to apply oversight to the administration and in my opinion, they were derelict in this regard. Blaming the former business administrator without proof is also wrong. In my opinion, it would have gone a long way if the board had stepped up and taken responsibility for the issues instead of placing blame elsewhere. Public school accounting and finances are inherently complicated, with many different facets. It will take a group of professionals to ascertain what occurred and when it occurred. In my opinion, the money has not gone missing but may have been frivolously spent or alotted to accounts where it does not belong. Only a forensic audit, that looks at every account in detail will give the answers needed.
That’s the problem the audit won’t get done before the election. We need to get more people on the ballot in November. This kind of spending can’t continue. Lehighton will become the next town to go down it’s happening all over the state.
More people on the ballot who are qualified. The last batch that ran spent too much time on social media looking like idiots... that's why they all lost. Sometimes it's better to not have an answer than it is to spit out a bunch of impractical nonsense.
The answers

Adopt the balanced budget that was proposed with a slight tax reduction
Remove those that fail to honor the Oath of Office
Ask for Director Yenser's resignation
Open the books to the board, all the board, immediately
Don't spend more than you have
Don't give more than you have
Ask before you give anything over the lawful amount
Renegotiate the horrible borrowing done by the idiots desperate to create a Legacy of debt
Give our Students their Rights
Promote the legal options for Charter and Cyber education where the parents have oversight and a choice.
Put the citizen stakeholders in charge of the board, and the board in charge of the administration.
Hold only legal meetings
Ask for apologies from Yenser, Stern, Wentz, Holland, and Spinelli making them repeat their Oath of Office in public.
Keep the book open for all to see on a daily basis.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
More sophomoric humor:

What do you get when Director Yenser fails to do his duty as treasurer, Rubber-stamping Rita chooses to ignore common sense, wasteful Wayne Wentz a veteran that fought in foreign lands to defend the constitution yet fails to uphold it locally, Larry Stern's claims of immunity and Steve Holland's proposal to spend money on lighting up the student's bleachers yet fails to give students their rights in the classrooms?

Well, a tax increase and the Lehighton Area School District Government, of, by and for the administration. Five abdicating much of their authority to the very people they were elected to oversee in spite of their Oath of Office.


Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
It's a great thing that we have elections to decide what the taxpayers really want and that thankfully it is not left up to you and your small handful of sheep who believe you are "all knowing" and can not speak for themselves. These rantings of yours have proven to be ineffective and if anything turn people away from the real issues. Keep it up and you will get exactly the opposite of what you claim to want for the community.....
Bradley, you definitely need psychiatric help. You suffer from Lehighton School board derangement syndrome.
Your comments are inappropriate, self gratifying, rambling, repetitive and unbecoming of a school board member. You are a legend in your own mind and a total disgrace.
Do us all a favor and resign immediately. Maybe then we could get someone in there with more integrity.

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