A special audit by the state Auditor General's office shows the Dallastown Area School District paid former superintendent Stewart Weinberg $8,324 more than his contract allowed for vehicle maintenance bills.
Weinberg was superintendent of the district from July 1, 2004, until he resigned at the request of the school board Feb. 9, 2012. Up until November 2013, the special audits were conducted for all superintendent buy-outs or retirements, said Barry Ciccocioppo, spokesman for the auditor general's office. In the future the audits will be conducted during normal cyclical audits, which typically occur every two years for a school district, Ciccocioppo said in an email.
No oversight: The audit noted that the district's business office was not given authority to oversee the provisions of Weinberg's contract, which resulted in the excess vehicle payments for a combination of repairs, maintenance, rental equipment and automobile insurance. Weinberg was also not required to submit proof of his mileage for reimbursement. The excess payments occurred every year Weinberg was superintendent and range from $281 in the 2008-2009 school year to $1,828 in the 2010-2011 school year.
The audit report recommends the school district request repayment of the total $8,324. But the report makes a note that those excess payments might have been because Weinberg had a non-accountable plan, meaning there was not ample district oversight to oversee his contract. The IRS would rule on whether Weinberg's plan was non-accountable, Ciccocioppo said, and thus whether he is required to repay the funds.
The report states that if the plan is deemed non-accountable, the money might not be legally required to be repaid.
District response: Current Superintendent Ron Dyer said he submits information for mileage reimbursement like every other employee in the school district, and made sure the business office has the authority to oversee the provisions of his contract.
"I purposely kept my contract in a different realm," Dyer said.
Dyer said the district is seeking advice from the Auditor General's office about how to request the repayment of the vehicle funds, and will proceed once school officials receive information on how to proceed.
Ciccocioppo said the office generally suggests school districts get input from their solicitor or other organizations in education, such as the state Department of Education, on how best to recoup lost funds.
Other finding: The report also pointed out that Weinberg had instructed the business office to report $3,678 of his car allowance as salary during the 2011-2012 school year, which then became eligible for retirement wages through the Public School Employees' Retirement System, or PSERS.
The report states submitting car allowances as salary are typically not permitted by PSERS, and the Auditor General advised the district to wait on a decision from PSERS to determine how the wages should be addressed.
Evelyn Tatkovski, spokeswoman for PSERS, said the organization has not received the final report regarding the school district. Tatkovski said in an email car allowances are typically considered a "fringe benefit" and would not be reportable as salary.
Tatkovski said she does not know how the specific situation will be resolved because PSERS has not received the report yet. However, Tatkovski said in similar cases the non-reportable salary is removed and the account is recalculated so it is correct.
The report does not name Weinberg directly: Ciccocioppo said it is the office's policy not to include proper names in a report.
The auditor's report states the office is "encouraged" that the district concurs with both of the findings in the audit. Auditors will follow up on all recommendations during the district's next cyclical audit, the report states.
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