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Maryland audit of Prince George’s school system makes a finding…

…identifies weak financial controls

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Segun Eubanks (Courtesy of the National Education Association)

A state audit of the Prince George’s County school system found that weak financial controls and insufficient oversight have resulted in $1 million in overpayments to employees and have left the district’s computer network vulnerable to attack.

The audit, which the Office of Legislative Audits released Wednesday, found serious problems in the district’s human relations and Internet security departments and questioned $1 million in six sole-source contracts for which the school system apparently had no documentation.

Auditors reviewed the county school system’s financial records from January 2011 to June 2012. Thomas J. Barnickel III, the legislative auditor, said he was troubled that many of the issues the recent audit identified were problems the state found six years ago during the previous state audit of Maryland’s second-largest school district.

“Serious actions need to be taken to address these long-standing issues,” Barnickel said. >>> Read more Washington Post

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PGCPS 2014 -Financial Management Practices Audit Report

OPINION

Corruption erodes trust in public institutions and in democracy, it undermines our internal market, it hampers foreign investment, it costs tax payers millions, and in many cases it helps organized crime groups do their dirty work. As everyone can see here in Prince George’s County Board of Education,  people without a sound education are like society without a sense of direction.

Corruption is estimated to costs Member States no less than 120 billion dollars each year.

Every dollar that a corrupt official or a corrupt business person puts in their pocket is a dollar stolen from a pregnant woman who needs health care; or from a girl or a boy who deserves an education; or from communities that need water, roads, and schools. Every dollar is critical if we are to reach our goals to end extreme poverty by 2030 and to boost shared prosperity.

Let’s not mince words: In all countries of the world, corruption is public enemy number one. We should never tolerate corruption, and we all should pledge to do all in our power to build upon our strong fight against it.

How do we build institutions with greater integrity so we can help more people lead better lives?  We believe there are three important elements in our approach: First, we need to improve the way we share and apply knowledge about building institutions with greater integrity; second, we need to empower citizens with information and tools to make their governments more effective and accountable; and third, we need to build a global movement to prevail over corruption.

Needless to say, it will take more than one report to root out corruption. But as Maryland is finding its way out of the economic crisis, we cannot afford to drag our feet. PGCPS needs to completely clean house of the administration, HR, Accounting, etc.  In the past, HR did not comply to contracts, employment law and their own rules and policies.  Employees reading the newspaper and novels at their desks.  They pass you to department to department because no one wants to work.  No accountability and transparency.  But then again, most of the Superintendents have been way below par too.

Long story short, for the past 25+ years, PGCPS admin, HR, accounting, etc. have been a joke.  Hopefully Maxwell can find a way to review and replace at least 90%+ of the admin, HR, accounting, etc. staff.

While we disagree in some aspects of the report because the corruption is too high, we hope that this will start a political process and will spur the political will and the necessary commitment at all levels to address corruption more effectively across Maryland and the World. The price of not acting is simply too high.

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