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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bangor School Board Could Use a Bit More Transparency

Last week, I reported to you that State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale had ripped the school board to shreds for paying former Superintendent Pat Mulroy for "consulting" services that were never performed. Amazingly, instead of being concerned about the audit itself, School Board President Michael Goffredo seemed more concerned about how I got it. He emailed fellow Board members on Sunday night to ask who leaked the report.

The first and most obvious suspect would be Ron Angle. But he did not get the report until Thursday, and only found out about it when I called him. Another likely suspect, Bob Cartwright, is recuperating from a stoke in Delaware. What Goffredo fails to realize is that I have developed numerous contacts over the years.

In his email, Goffredo reminded everyone that there is a nondisclosure agreement with Mulroy, while simultaneously telling them that my blog was merely a "rehash of old news, fully reported at the time in 2012, with the only effect that of casting dispersions [sic] on past and present Boards." He complains of the "social media circus" this blog caused.

In 2012, The Express Times did fully report that Mulroy would stay on as a consultant, but the understanding was that she would actually be performing work in exchange for the $142,000 that ultimately was paid to her. There was no indication that she was being paid off, and that this was her hush money.

The "dispersions," as Goffredo characterizes them, were created by a Board that just couldn't be honest with the public.

I obtained Goffredo's email by filing a RTK and even that email was scrubbed to remove all personal email addresses. School officials told me that emails sent to Board members, at their school board email accounts, are likely just hanging there, never to be read.

That's some transparency.


Anonymous said...

Goffredo doesn't know the meaning of transparency

Anonymous said...

" ... casting dispersions [sic] ..."

I know school board members are volunteers. But somebody who hasn't mastered basic vocabulary should not be on any school board. Goffredo has demonstrated he's both stupid and sneaky.

Anonymous said...

LV live just released this story

Besides paying its former schools superintendent more than $142,000 for a no-show consulting job, the Bangor Area School Board sent her off in 2012 with something else:

A favorable letter of recommendation.

Patricia Mulroy

A state audit found that former Superintendent Patricia Mulroy was paid $142,608 for consulting work that she never performed.

The school district lauded Patricia Mulroy's work as assistant superintendent and superintendent in a letter signed by then-school board President Pam Colton.

"Dr. Mulroy can be characterized as a leader with great expectations, eager to learn and participate in self-study and professional growth," the letter said. "She is eager to be on the cutting edge of change, willing to take a chance on innovation, and knowledgeable about current educational practices. She takes her work very seriously."

In response to a Right-to-Know request from lehighvalleylive.com and The Express-Times, the school district on Monday released the agreement made between Mulroy and the school board on June 28, 2012

The school board came under fire last month when a state audit revealed the school board agreed to pay Mulroy $142,608 in fees and benefits over 12 months into 2013, during which she provided no services.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale labeled it "an egregious waste of taxpayer money — money that should have been used to help students."

Mulroy, who reached the agreement in the second of what was to be three years as schools chief, has not responded to calls for comment, including a message left Monday.

The school board has refused to disclose its rationale for such an agreement, citing confidentiality reasons.

The agreement sheds no light on the reasons behind the split.

It requires her to resign July 6, 2012, and be hired as a consultant for curriculum and special education effective immediately.

During their review, state auditors found the district failed to provide any evidence that the former superintendent did any work for her consulting compensation.

Not that any work was required: The pact included language stating she would receive payment even without providing any services.

The agreement states: "Nothing in this agreement shall prevent Mulroy from not performing or agreeing to perform district-directed consultant services, nor can Mulroy's failure to perform such services in whole or in part be deemed to be a cause for termination of this agreement, which must be honored in any event."

Under the agreement, Mulroy agreed to release the school district from any and all claims arising from her employment and resignation.

It also contains a non-disparagement clause in which both sides agree not to engage in conduct or publish information "which would serve to in any manner diminish the favorable reputation that the other party enjoys except as required by law or court order."

The school district's legal counsel, solicitor Donald Spry, acknowledged at a school board meeting last month that the arrangement was approved to end Mulroy's contract as superintendent early. The district paid the consulting fee in lieu of paying Mulroy for the third and final year of her contract.