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  • Auditor General Uncovers Spending Scandal at English School Board

    The province’s Auditor General has uncovered what some will call a spending scandal at the English School District.

    It looks like some employees of the English School District have been using the board as their own money tree. AG Julia Mullaley today released an investigation into spending activities and policies at the board. The Burin Peninsula, where a former employee has already been convicted, was left out of the review which covered the period 2011-16.

    While the English School District wouldn’t reveal an exact number, it says the incidents involved only a handful of employees.

    The financial horror stories abound—employees receiving kickbacks in the form of entertainment tickets, fishing trips, snowclearing and home renos. One employee got $800 worth of fuel and convenience items for personal use. A wheelbarrow was rented for $735 for two weeks, the board paid hundreds to rent four extension cords, many items purchased were either already owned by the board or used very little or not at all.

    At least $168,000 worth of items could not even be located as there is no inventory control. Some 70 tire installations don’t match up with any vehicles owned by the board and in one case the invoices were modified with whiteout.

    The AG says there is evidence of fraudulent activity not only by employees, but by suppliers. The files have been handed over to the RNC and RCMP.

    Details of the report can be FOUND HERE.

    District Responds to AG Report

    The CEO of the English School District says they’ve enhanced the integrity of their internal purchasing procedures and there were terminations, although he would not say the exact number.

    Tony Stack would only say there were fewer than five.

    Stack told reporters today the terminations occurred in 2016, and no further terminations are expected.

    Derek Newhook was found guilty this summer of two counts of fraud and one count of breach of trust. He was accused of directing school board staff to carry out work for him. He was handed a suspended sentence last month.

    Some Redacted Details Included in Original Release

    Meanwhile, the Auditor General says a technical glitch that resulted in the release of information that was redacted in the original report was not a privacy breach.

    The information redacted includes school board assets including things like tools and garden equipment and was blacked out purely as a cautionary measure, according to Julia Mullaley.

    She says the information, even though it was viewable for a time, does not constitute a privacy breach, nor does it jeopardize any potential police investigations.

    She says she’s already spoke with RNC on the matter.

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