Category Archives: DeKalb County School District

Call For Independent Auditor and Ethics Officer

The procurement assessment indicated that ethics and integrity at the school district are practically non existent.

Stan Jester
Board Of Education

As you problably know, the school district really messed up employee salary schedules. At the February board meeting, the board (illegally in my opinion) met behind closed doors in executive session to discuss how the school district found itself in this salary schedule mess.

E-SPLOST projects are way over budget and the school district is running out of funds. In a few weeks the board is having a series of (illegal) private meetings (avoiding open meetings laws) to get an update on E-SPLOST project budgets and discuss options moving forward.

Meeting Invitation:
Board meetings for the purpose to discuss the increased cost estimate for E-SPLOST IV and E-SPLOST V and a few options for a plan of action to address the increased cost estimates. No more than 3 board members per meeting to avoid a quorum.

• Tuesday, March 19, 10:30-12:00 p.m.
• Tuesday, March 19, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
• Wednesday, March 20, 1:30-3:00 p.m.

We can’t operate like this. The school district has proven time and time again that it cannot police itself.

I’m calling for an independent ethics officer and in independent internal auditor. I am also calling for a review of all current contracts and an in-depth fraud investigation by an outside expert.

Ethics Officer
An independent ethics officer serves as the organization’s independent and internal control point for ethics and improprieties, allegations, complaints, and conflicts of interest and provides corporate leadership and advice on corporate governance issues.

The DeKalb Ethics Board was established in its current form in 2016 when a referendum vote overwhelmingly approved of the addition of a full time Ethics Officer. By law, the Ethics Board is completely independent of the DeKalb CEO, Commissioners and any officers or employees of DeKalb County government.

Meeting, Agenda and Minutes link
Audit Reports link
Audit Oversight Committee link

Independent Internal Auditor
An independent internal auditor provides independent, objective, insightful, nonpartisan assessment of the stewardship or performance of policies, programs and operations in promoting efficiency, effectiveness and integrity. They accomplish this through financial audits, performance audits, inquires, investigations and reviews.

The DeKalb County Office of the Independent Internal Officer has produced important audits and provided an important lens into the operations of DeKalb County.

Related Posts

Employee Compensation Update
February 27, 2019 – Last year, Management Advisory Group (MAG) completed a Salary and Compensation Study for the DeKalb County School District. DeKalb Schools is going back to the drawing board for classified staff, everyone not certified. Superintendent Green has reached out to Gwinnett Schools to enlist their help.

Procurement Assessment Indicates Fraud
February 26, 2019 – DeKalb Schools recently completed a cursory assessment of its procurement process. It indicated that ethics and integrity in the procurement process is practically non existent.

Need Input – New Salary Schedules
February 12, 2019 – DeKalb Schools administration is moving fast and furious to correct this issue. I’m trying to get out and vet the documentation as expeditiously as possible.

Procurement Assessment Indicates Fraud at DeKalb Schools

DeKalb Schools recently completed a cursory assessment of its procurement process. It indicated that ethics and integrity in the procurement process is practically non existent. For over two months, the school district withheld this report from the public. Finally, the district made a course correction and released the report. Here’s the link so you can read it for yourself.

  Procurement Assessment Report FINAL

Call To Action

Based on this initial review of the district’s procurement processes (or lack thereof), I’m calling for the creation of the following positions:
* Independent ethics officer
* Independent internal auditor

I am also calling for a review of all current contracts and an in-depth fraud investigation by an outside expert.

Richard Belcher with WSB has been looking into DeKalb School’s procurement for months. He posted DeKalb Schools employees accept travel, meals from companies on Monday where he enlisted the aid of a previous federal agent and fraud examiner to assess DeKalb Schools’ procurement assessment.

The federal agent is positive there is fraud at DeKalb Schools citing the procurement assessment that revealed vendors are paying school employees. The procurement assessment says, “it is widely known that certain types of vendors host conferences and fairs, and often will pay for District employees to attend those conferences or pay staff to be involved in those conferences and trade events.”

The federal agent recommended the following questions be asked of vendors currently doing business with the district:
Does the company do any work with school employees?
Does the company do a vast majority of its work with DeKalb alone?
He also recommended to spot check various vendors and drive to the physical location of the vendor’s office.

Response From Superintendent Green
Superintendent Stephen Green

Dr. Stephen Green
Superintendent, DeKalb County School District

The DeKalb County Board of Education had requested Nelson Mullins conduct a high level assessment of the District’s procurement processes. This was the first step in a continuous process that evaluates how the district can become more effective and efficient in its practices. The report is not the end, but the beginning. The report gives the district the opportunity to do an introspective view of its board policies, protocols and procedures, before major problems arise. Now that the report is complete, we are in the beginning stages of developing an action plan that will strengthen our current procurement processes. The administration will provide the Board of Education with periodic updates on the progress of improvement of our procurement practice.