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Cheryl Miskell's letter

Cheryl Miskell's letter

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Published by Mike Grogan
Cheryl Miskell, president of the Auburn Teachers Association, wrote union members about the theft of $800,000.
Cheryl Miskell, president of the Auburn Teachers Association, wrote union members about the theft of $800,000.

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Published by: Mike Grogan on Apr 23, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Dear Friends and Colleagues


I am writing to share with you a very painful development in the history of the Auburn Teachers Association. Since the local media may report on this, I wanted you to hear about it from


me first. In November 2012, shortly after the death of our long-time president, the Association's leadership team began to ffansfer fiscal responsibilities to me, as your president, and to our newly elected treasurer, John Ferrara. In the process of canceling credit cards, reviewing bank stitements and transferring cell phone accounts, the Association's new leadership team discovered accounting .irregularities. We immediately gathered records - including credit card statements, bank statements and cell phone bills - and contacted experts at our state affiliate for assistance.

Five months later, we are still investigating. Nonetheless, we are at the point where we can be transparent and open to the Association membership, but also confident that our suspicions are backed up by fact. A forensic investigation has preliminary found that at lea{$!!0.0001f dues was misappropriated by our former president between 2006 and Fall2012. It appears that money earmarked for the Association was instead used for meals, gasoline, trips, gambling, clothing, grocery shopping - and for cash advances. NYSUT is still in the process of disentangling the Association's finances. Because some old financial records are unavailable, we may never know the full extent of the misappropriations.
Once this news sinks in, we understand many of you will be angry and feel a deep sense of disappointment and frustration. Some of you will ask: How did this go on for so long? Why didn't anyone notice? Those are good questions and the current leadership team has been asking them as well. In hindsight, all of us should have been more vigilant and insisted on stronger and clearer checks and balances. In a very real way, we were also victimized by what, in the end, tumed out to be a massive fraud.

We have been working with the Accounting Department at NYSUT and with our insurance company. We are hopeful that the Association with recoup some of its losses. This difficult episode has also prompted the leadership to put in place stronger financial controls, identifying weaknesses and putting into place new systems to correct them. We feel a strong sense of resolve that nothing like this should ever happen again.

At this diffrcult time, it's important for us to stand together and to stand strong. And, we hope you willjoin us in pledging that this unfortunate and sad chapter in our history will not distract us from our core mission: providing a first-class educational experience to every student we serye.

In Solidarity,


Auburn Teachers Association

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