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Knuckleheads and numbskulls

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News Hits laughed out loud when we learned that the Hamtramck School Board voted last week to reject suggestions that might prevent future fiscal mismanagement. The proposed safeguards must have made too much darn sense for the knuckleheads who voted against them.

Last year, the school board hired attorney George Ward to investigate whether administrators spent money on building repairs without board authorization. In June, Ward, formerly No. 2 in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, issued a report alleging that superintendent Paul Stamatakis and the grounds and building director Dennis Thompson spent more than $1 million — much of it through no-bid contracts and change orders — on school maintenance without receiving required board approval.

The Wayne County prosecutor, state attorney general and U.S. attorney began reviewing records the board turned over in the summer, according to board President Camille Colatosti. No criminal charges have been brought.

Ward suggested ways to avoid financial shenanigans in the future. One of his wacky ideas was for the board to make sure it has proper documentation, such as purchase orders, before paying a bill. Now, that must sound like crazy talk to the numbskulls who rejected this proposal. But Ward says it is basic common sense.

“I thought that they would want to have some accountability and at least prevent this from happening again,” he says.

We note that it took a mere three-month debate among board members to reject them. Nothing like a long pause to build up to a punch line.

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