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Missing Reports

Superintendent Reacts To $4.9M Education Department Fine

April 14, 2013

PANAMA — Paperwork errors, one of which occurred nearly a decade ago, may end up costing the Panama Central School district nearly $5 million over the next 10 year....

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Abundance

Apr-17-13 7:05 AM

Just asking, but what makes people think this is the first time the school has been notified of this error? It may only be that this is the first notification the public has been made aware of......

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philmcintyre

Apr-16-13 10:38 AM

PART 3: If there wasn’t a question on the 2002 reports, why would it even have been brought up? Again, it feels like there is a problem here. I don’t know what it is but I do know one thing, the taxpayers of the district should not be penalized for what a few people are responsible for. Given that these building projects total millions of dollars, wouldn’t you think someone on the board of education would ask if everything is completed? Are they so incompetent to the workings of the school district? They approve the bills that get paid, why wouldn’t they be “in the know” on such an important requirement? This total incompetence by all parties during this timeframe should show who should be paying this fine, and its not the taxpayers.

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philmcintyre

Apr-16-13 10:38 AM

PART 2: I can attest to the fact that John Ireland was not good at filing paperwork in a timely manner. That came directly from the NYSED Office of State Aid a few years back. It wasn’t just John Ireland making a clerical mistake as he would have had to answer to his boss, Carol Hay. Did she make the same clerical error? Then it comes to 2008 and John Ireland retires and Mark Ryan takes over as business executive. Allegedly he was assured by John Ireland that 2002 final cost reports had been filed, but 2005 was not. Ireland told Ryan he was going to come back and finish them, which according to Ryan he did. This leaves a huge question in my mind….why did Ireland assure the incoming business executive Mark Ryan, that 2002 was done. Was there a question about the 2002 final cost report? If so then Mark Ryan should have looked into it to determine if everything had been finalized.

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philmcintyre

Apr-16-13 10:38 AM

PART 1 of 3: A clerical error? I don’t think so. That’s the way its being reported is an “oversight”, just a little paperwork mistake. I think there is something fishy here…something smells like a cover-up but I don’t know what it is. I spoke with NYSED Office of Facilities and Planning yesterday morning. I was informed they don’t send out notices when the paperwork hasn’t been done. Its up to the schools to keep track of whats required and to file in a timely manner. In 2002 John Ireland was the business manager and Carol Hay was the superintendent. According to Facilities and Planning, they knew final cost reports were requirements going into the building projects and how important those requirements were. They knew it up front. So why wasn’t it done? This is not a $10 mistake, its 5 MILLION DOLLARS! No one has to take responsibility? Just push it off on the taxpayers? Add it to the budget, no problem.

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MarquessoQ

Apr-14-13 10:04 PM

Sneaky tactics"? No it's beauracracy and red tape and it's a fact of life in NYS. I would imagine a final report of such a large project would be common sense - but not doing it on 2 projects?? Again if there were management companies instead of people with names like "Ireland" that I recognize as a Panama name maybe these things would not be an issue. Nepotism costs thousands of dollars a year when good ole boy systems hire relatives to plow the roads but to be in charge of million dollar projects? I don't believe this is just a Panama thing. Progressive counties with many more students have a single school district. Chaut. county is stuck in the horse and buggy era. How could you EVER logically explain 13 districts in a county of 130K people in today's world and economy? You can't.Look at the bigger issue and learn from this blunder.

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JFrank

Apr-14-13 9:40 PM

What a harsh penalty for a clerical error. Where is the state accountability?? If you don't pay a (credit card) bill on time, you are notified immediately!! The state needs to be held accountable as well for failure of notification!! Waiting over 10 years to inform the district of failure of compliance is not acceptable! Thank you Mr. Lictus for shouldering this huge responsibility - we need to work together and with you to help get whatever aid we can in the years to come to help cancel the debt. Let's think of the kids - They are our future!!

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oldlady

Apr-14-13 9:29 PM

Post was to danman.

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oldlady

Apr-14-13 9:29 PM

ganman if you had read my previou post you would see that I lay the blame of this fiasco on our lack of attention to the details of complying with so called state aid. Yes, some individual was at fall but you are the type of person that falls into the lynch mob mentality. Panama does not deserve this. No one killed anybody or robbed a bank. It is good you moved away and frankly I pity your new community wherever that is. Perhaps some medication might be in order?

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Dark77

Apr-14-13 8:45 PM

Danman bitter person the people of panama are probably glad you moved away...wow...you may need an anger management class? Just a suggestion

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Regulator

Apr-14-13 8:32 PM

Lot's of hatred here. I don't think this has anything to do with corruption. Yikes! Anyway, everyone realizes this fine is way over the top. Right now the Governor's poll ratings are down. If I were Panama I would make a media circus out of this bogus fine. Get the NY Times involved. Put it out Nationally. Headline "State gives shaft to small school" The Governor doesn't need that press. It will then be taken care of.

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danman

Apr-14-13 7:35 PM

Old Lady proves the point. She exhibits exactly why no one will be held accountable. "It's all the fault of the State of New York"! What a hoot! So glad I moved away from the stupidity. People like Old Lady are exactly why PCSD is rated each and every year as one of the worst schools in Western New York, and why the corruption and nepotism will continue until the state shuts down that miserable excuse of a 'school'. Panama is getting what it deserves.

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rayofsunshine

Apr-14-13 7:34 PM

who really is at fault for this??? when were the reports due and who "dropped the ball" the admin now or then?

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Justice4all

Apr-14-13 4:24 PM

OL– I agree with your point that we have created a dragon in State Gov’t, but also at the Fed. and unfortunately even at the lowest levels of our county and town gov’ts all the way to our schools. I believe that some of “the group that opposed the powers” simply wanted the community to open their eyes and be active and aware of what was happening. If you polled the community on what the job responsibilities are even for the BOE, I’d bet not more than 5% know that there is a written school policy that spells it out. I’d also bet that if you ask all the staff and members of the community how many times they have been to a BOE meeting (without being asked or required to be there) the percentage would again be below 5%. Lincoln aptly stated in the Gettysburg Address “… government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” at the graveside of men that died for that right and yet how many actually care enough to even participate at an informative level?

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oldlady

Apr-14-13 3:18 PM

I realize there are very hard feelings about what happened at Panama. The group that opposed the powers that be would not necessarily have had any different outcome as they only would have placed their own board members with people they wanted. They too had their own agenda. Our society has become so vicious. This is in reality a result of all of us not knowing the sneaky tactics of New York state. Putting all the character assassinations aside we are going to have to come together and fight the real dragon and that is the state of New York. All the rest is only going to tear the school apart. And believe what you will, but I was not a great fan of the administration but neither was I impressed with the alternative.

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danman

Apr-14-13 2:04 PM

To Justice: Of course they should be held accountable, but it will never happen. The community always, let me repeat, always supported the corrupt practice of that (Hay) administration. If they are ever to be held accountable, it will have to be at the state level. Throughout their tenure they practiced electioneering to ensure those on the school board were their hand-picked minions. When some in the community cried 'foul' those individuals that attempted to reveal the corruption were ridiculed and vilified with the support of most of the Panama citizenry. It's always been about keeping everyone in the 'dark' in Panama.

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Justice4all

Apr-14-13 1:35 PM

I don’t think I’ve seen ANY posts that disagree with Mr. Lictus’s statement, “You can't take $5 million from a school district who's tax levy is only $3.5 million a year.” The penalty is outrageous, to say the least. The issues are: 1) Who was really responsible for this negligence? 2) Was this something that is reasonable to assume that the parties responsible SHOULD have known about? 3) Is this criminal negligence? 4) Is this the State gone haywire on a requirement that is not clear or evident was required? If a school district is paying individuals between $100,000 and $120,000 to do a job, is it reasonable to expect them to take responsibility for handling paperwork associated with a building project that they not only supported, but pushed? To say that this was a “clerical oversight” doesn’t really answer these questions. If this was in fact negligence on the part of (I’ll say the names) John Ireland and Carol Hay, should they be held responsible?

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danman

Apr-14-13 12:50 PM

Ignorance is rampant in the PCSC; no doubt about that. The problem with Panama is the people to blame were whole heartedly supported by the Panama Community. There were 'watch dogs' warning that those in charge were 'clueless'. Those watchdogs were vilified, by the superintendent and her minions, with full support of the majority of Panama citizens. Those in charge hand picked each year the 'puppets' to serve on the board of education. It appears as if PCSD is simply getting what it deserves.

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oldlady

Apr-14-13 12:22 PM

We all need to be better educated taxpayers. I have been in the Panama district and I had no clue the devastating consequences that using state money could bring. Shame on me. We all need to attend board meetings and from now on be vigilant as to who does what and when. We as a public, must also see proof of filed reports and a quality assurance audit must be in place. Most of us work and are knowledgeable of financial processes so we should be able to come up with a way to checklist, in easy, terms the downfalls of taking money from the state. It is far more dangerous than I ever expected. I think many others are just as ignorant.

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MarquessoQ

Apr-14-13 11:29 AM

This is what you get when you have 13 school district for an area of 130K people. The people that get hired to run these million dollar budgets are usually either teachers or locals who take advantage of the nepotism of all these tiny communities. We pay as we train them to learn how to run a multi-million dollar business. In Jamestown Dr. Fahsano learned how to administer multi-million dollar building projects on our dime. Now he's retired with a better understanding of how all the complicated procedures and practices of these projects and we're stuck paying for his learning experience. Same with Kathman. History Teacher in charge of an 80 million dollar budget? Weatherlow is supposed to be the "professional" in Jamestown but he's totally incompetent. If we had one county district and hired a management company they could save money and be financially accountable for blunders if they happened. Getting a $500K grant to pay for your penalty is as loclaguy says - silly

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Regulator

Apr-14-13 10:40 AM

These articles are still lacking in info and investigative reporting. We still don't know who was responsible for filling out the report. Was it the Super, the business mgr, the clerk, the architect or a combination of all. That would be a question.

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maddysan

Apr-14-13 10:01 AM

WHEN A SCHOOL DISTRICT ACCEPTS THAT MUCH MONEY AND IT IS ALL OUR MONEY, THEY NEED TO BE RESPONSIBLE.IF THEY ACCEPTED THE MONEY THEY MUST BE ABLE TO SHOW HOW IT WAS SPENT AND COMPLY WITH ALL RULES.Now all NYS tax payers are paying the first payment.Panama should be asking many more questions.

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maddysan

Apr-14-13 10:01 AM

WHEN A SCHOOL DISTRICT ACCEPTS THAT MUCH MONEY AND IT IS ALL OUR MONEY, THEY NEED TO BE RESPONSIBLE.IF THEY ACCEPTED THE MONEY THEY MUST BE ABLE TO SHOW HOW IT WAS SPENT AND COMPLY WITH ALL RULES.Now all NYS tax payers are paying the first payment.Panama should be asking many more questions.

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mrinbetween

Apr-14-13 9:49 AM

I wonder how many schools in democratic voting counties have ever been fined. Vote for us or you will pay.

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mrinbetween

Apr-14-13 9:47 AM

This is simply BS. The state is doing everything it can to get money, from police checkpoints on overdue inspections to taxing everything and anything. Would-be King Cuomo is just following King Obamas example.

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Lawrence

Apr-14-13 9:45 AM

I thought we paid these superintendents $150000+ and now they can't file a report?The blame needs to go to the administration during that time period.Oh that's right their now all retired and living off the taxpayers money.Great work Panama school district.

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