In January, the Board of Education requested that the Lackawanna County District Attorney launch an investigation into the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for non-descript services and healthcare benefits to a non-employee of the Scranton School District between 2006-2017, a matter identified as Finding No. 5 in the Auditor General’s Performance Audit released in October 2017. District Attorney Mark Powell referred the matter to the office of the State Attorney General. Yesterday, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced first-degree felony charges against the former fleet manager for the Scranton School District and released the findings of the 41st Statewide Investigating Grand Jury.
Improper billing, work on personal vehicles and conspiracy to defraud the SSD, and, by extension, the taxpayers of the City of Scranton, are very serious matters which must be addressed not only with the charges set forth but by action of the Scranton School District. Although the report determines that the District’s self-insured status allows that health benefits be offered to sub-contractors, the Board of Education is concerned with the process by which this decision was made and past efforts to conceal the agreement.
The Board is aware that procedures have been strengthened to guard against many of the acts detailed in the report but cannot overlook any improper actions, past or current, involving active or retired SSD personnel. The Board will look to the PA School Code, Scranton School District Policy and Administrative Regulations to guide its actions in dealing with the concerned parties. It is noted in the report that the “SSD has provided, and continues to provide, cooperation in connection with the investigation.” The Scranton School Board is committed to supporting these efforts and will ensure that cooperation continues.