Superintendent Ryan Could Use Some Ethics Lessons
What happened when Superintendent Thomas E. Ryan of Sauk Village (Illinois) Elementary School District got caught using school funds to pay for the following?
- $6,030 as a direct payment (from the district) to his daughter for her tuition to Purdue University
- Cabinets in his Orland Park home
- Insurance for the family's cars
- make-up for female family members
- a two-piece bathing suit
Answer: After getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Ryan repaid $13,574. His pet school board then gave him a $15,327 raise and extended his contract until 2010.
We think that there is a check or balance missing some place....
Unlike Ryan's tame school board, the Illinois State Board of Education isn't too impressed by Superintendent Ryan's modus operandi. They have opened an investigation into all the irregularities:
Ryan, who has been superintendent for 15 years, claims that there were no improper payments. (heh.)
Auditors also discovered the district may have handed a no-bid, $72,000 contract in violation of state law to E&M Associates.
The president of that company, Edward Bernacki, is employed by the district as buildings and grounds manager. Bernacki's wife, Mary, is secretary of the company, according to state records.
The bulk of the auditors' concerns, numbering more than a dozen, involved improper payments or compensation directly to the superintendent or on his behalf.
Auditors found that no one was keeping track of Ryan's vacation time, and payroll staff did not have access to his contract and thus could not determine whether payments he directed to be issued to himself were appropriate.
In a number of cases, auditors found Ryan ordered payments to himself or on his behalf with no documentation other than a Post-It note.
Auditors could not reconcile what Ryan had been paid during the 2003-04 school year a total of $199,492, according to state records with his contract.
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