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Jordan-Elbridge Assistant Superintendent William Hamilton responses to charges filed against him

Jordan-Elbridge Assistant Superintendent William Hamilton responses to charges filed against him

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Published by The Post-Standard
The Jordan-Elbridge School District on July 9 suspended Jordan-Elbridge. The district has refused to release its charges against Hamilon, saying education law prohibits the release.
The Post-Standard has obtained the charges from Hamilton’s lawyer. These are Hamilton's defenses to the district's charges.
The Jordan-Elbridge School District on July 9 suspended Jordan-Elbridge. The district has refused to release its charges against Hamilon, saying education law prohibits the release.
The Post-Standard has obtained the charges from Hamilton’s lawyer. These are Hamilton's defenses to the district's charges.

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Published by: The Post-Standard on Nov 01, 2010
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Hamilton (“Hamilton”) is the Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance of the JordanElbridge Central School District (the

“District”). Although he is tenured, he was suspended on July 7, 2010 without the filing of Charges. On August 2, 2010, he commenced an Article 78 proceeding which eventually forced the Board to file 3020-a Charges. Although the Board states that it made a finding of probable cause on the Charges on August 18th, they were not received by Hamilton until August 25th. We understand that the persons largely responsible for preparing the Charges were Danny Mevec (“Mevec”) at $125 an hour and the Internal Auditor, Alicia Mattie (“Mattie”), at $48 an hour, and that the primary sources for the allegations contained in the Charges were Mattie and Paula VanMinos (“VanMinos”). Moreover, the Superintendent of Schools, Marilyn Dominick, who is Hamilton’s immediate supervisor refused to sign the Charges. They were signed instead by Mary Alley (“Alley”). Most of the Charges are factually incorrect in one way or another or they allege petty, nonconsequential acts. In either event, they reflect an incredibly sloppy job of investigation. CHARGE ONE Charge One alleges that Hamilton committed immoral conduct in connection with quotes for tree service work on the Jordan Campus. Hamilton’s preference was to award the work to Cayuga Tree Service, LLC (“Cayuga”), an Elbridge company if, in fact, the District decided to proceed with the work. VanMinos did not agree that the work should go to Cayuga, and it appears that she complained to Alley and/or Mevec … who then ran with it. First, Hamilton was confronted with accusations of improper conduct in an ambush meeting with the Superintendent, Ms. Alley and the Board Vice-president. Second, it was the subject of an illegal reprimand given to Hamilton in violation of the tenure laws. Finally, this is the paramount allegation by the Board in the Charges. The truly incredible fact is that no tree service work was ever authorized. No Purchase Order was issued and not one cent was spent for the tree removal project. Thus, this charge is not about misconduct, or any act committed by Hamilton. It is purely about what VanMinos claims was said in a discussion between the two of them. The specific allegations of Charge One, and Hamilton’s responses, are summarized below: 1. The June 2009 Quotes In Hamilton’s opinion, tree removal work is a professional service that required special skill and experience and is, therefore, exempt from the competitive bidding requirements of General Municipal Law § 103. Thus, a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) process was all that was required, and the District was not bound to accept the lowest quote.

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The District obtained quotes to remove some trees and brush along the third base line of the varsity baseball field on the Jordan Campus in 2009. Four tree service companies quoted from $10,000 to $21,200. Cayuga’s quote was $13,000 and Treelanders Tree Service (“Treelanders”) quote was $10,000. No contract was awarded in 2009 because of the District’s financial condition and uncertainty as to state aid. The District encumbered $10,000 in the 2008-2009 budget and carried it over to the next fiscal year as part of the District’s Reserve for Encumbrances. 2. The Fall 2009 Direction from the Board In fall 2009, a different contract for tree service work on the Elbridge Campus was awarded to Treelanders. Chris Sandstrom, the owner of Cayuga, wrote to the Board to ask why the District did not award work to local tax paying companies whenever possible. The Board clearly agreed with Sandstrom. It informed Hamilton that he should give preference to local companies whenever possible and financially justified. 3. The 2010 Updated Quotes In April 2010, the District requested updated quotes for the Jordan Campus work. The scope of the work had changed. Now, all trees along the 40 foot wide swath adjoining the baseball field were to be removed, and no trees were to be saved. Cayuga quoted $14,790. Treelanders’ quote remained at $10,000 despite the change in scope. Bartlett quoted $21,200. 4. The Meeting with Chris Sandstrom at the Site Hamilton and Lou Barbaglia, the District’s head of maintenance, met with Chris Sandstrom at the Jordan Campus to be sure there was no confusion as to the scope of the work. At that time, Hamilton asked Sandstrom how low he could go on the price to perform this work. Sandstrom replied that he might be able to do it for $11,500. Hamilton asked Sandstrom if Cayuga could do the work for $10,000, and Sandstrom said “No.” Hamilton then said something like “I understand” or “okay.” That is all that was said. There was no agreement that Cayuga would be awarded the contract, and Cayuga did not commit to do the work for the $11,500 figure. 5. The Claim by VanMinos The allegation is that Hamilton directed VanMinos to award the contract to Cayuga. Hamilton will testify she is either lying or misunderstood what he said to her.
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He and VanMinos did have a discussion in which VanMinos challenged whether the contract could be awarded to Cayuga. During that conversation, Hamilton told her that (a) she was not the District Purchasing Agent, so that the decision was not her call or her responsibility; (b) the work required professional services that did not have to be competitively bid; (c) the Board had been informed about the project last spring; (d) the Board wants to contract with local companies taxpayers possible; and (e) no further communication was necessary beyond an FYI to the Board. Hamilton’s short discussion with VanMinos was academic. In fact, the District continued to hold off on this discretionary project since the District was about to lay off several employees. Hamilton never directed VanMinos to award anything to anyone. The Charge also alleges that, after VanMinos refused to issue the Purchase Order, Hamilton said to her, "Never mind - I'll have Fred do it," referring to Fred Weisskopf. That discussion never happened. Fred Weisskopf is an on task, no nonsense guy. If he had been asked, he would have immediately issued a Purchase Order to Cayuga. 6. The Alleged Retaliation against VanMinos The Charge alleges that, after VanMinos refused to award the bid, Hamilton retaliated against her by (a) refusing to speak to her, (b) not including her in meetings, (c) and not informing her on matters that she was working on for the District. This allegation is silly. The conversation between Hamilton and VanMinos regarding Cayuga is alleged to have occurred on Wednesday, May 26th. As discussed below, Hamilton was ambushed by the Board president and vice president regarding the tree service quotes and the alleged retaliation on June 1st. Monday, May 31st was a holiday (Memorial Day). This meant that these alleged acts of retaliation would have had to occur over a two day period. In fact, Hamilton spoke with VanMinos when he needed to speak with her, and included her in meetings when she needed to be included. He did not believe it was a prudent use of resources for her to be involved in every conversation he had or to attend every meeting he participated in. In this regard, Alley with Mevec, attended a meeting involving the capital project on June 29th that Hamilton and the Clerk of the Works were more than competent to handle. However, Alley insisted that VanMinos be present at the meeting. (One has to wonder what Alley and Mevec were planning at the time). 7. The Ambush Meeting in Early June, 2010 It is alleged that Hamilton “was evasive and then became belligerent” when he was questioned about the Cayuga quote at the June 1, 2010 ambush. When Dominick informed Hamilton that Alley had ordered the meeting, she also told him that she did not know what it was about. The meeting turned out to be an unannounced, on-the-spot and in-your-face inquisition of Hamilton that was
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conceived, arranged and conducted by Alley. She is not his supervisor, but she regularly assumed the superintendent’s legal authority. 8. Work by Cayuga at Hamilton‟s Home Although not a Charge, Alley includes one sentence in the Charges that states, “…upon information and belief, Cayuga Tree Service was also performing work at Respondent's home in Skaneateles.” Presumably, this statement was included to create a negative inference. In fact, Cayuga did some work at Hamilton’s residence in early May 2010. Hamilton obtained three quotes for this work, and Cayuga was not the cheapest or the most expensive. However, Chris Sandstrom’s proposal and expert advice was far superior to that of the other two companies. He gave sound advice on how to proceed (i.e., cut the tree down or trim and cable) so that Hamilton and his wife could make an informed decision. Cayuga did the work exactly as proposed, and left the property immaculate when the job was completed. Hamilton paid Cayuga the agreed upon price ($1,398.60) by check on May 15, 2010. The implication that Bill conspired with Cayuga is absurd. First, this means that Chris Sandstrom is also a conspirator. Second, it is ridiculous to imply that Cayuga’s work for Hamilton gained it some insider benefit when the fact is that Cayuga was asked to lower its initial quote from $14,790 to $11,500, or less. Cayuga also did tree service work at Alley’s home. CHARGE TWO This Charge alleges incompetency and cites seven separate allegations to support that Charge. For the reasons discussed below, not one of these allegations has any merit. 1. Regurgitation of Allegations on the Jordan Campus Tree Quotes Alley repeats the Charge One allegations but now adds the very serious charge that Hamilton conspired with Sandstrom. She also alleges that Hamilton should not have met with Sandstrom or allowed him to “verbally lower” his quote. This is simply wrong as a matter of law. The use of the word “bid” throughout the Charges is incorrect, since this was not a sealed competitive bid process. As Purchasing Agent, Hamilton had the right, if not the obligation, to try and negotiate the best price for the desired level of professional services. Also, he tried to do so while complying with the Board’s stated preference for local contractors. Moreover, Cayuga is highly qualified. Sandstrom graduated from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (“E.S.F.”) at Syracuse University with a degree in Resource Management, is a member of the American Society of Consulting

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Arborists (“ASCA”), and is one of only 36 Registered Consulting Arborists in the State of New York. 2. The Workers‟ Compensation Contract Since 1994, the District has participated in The New York State Public Trust (“NYSPT”) with other school districts to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. The agreement with NYSPT is sixteen (16) years old, and provides that it is to continue from year to year until it is terminated. Because the contract renews annually until it is cancelled, the only way the District could determine if the same or better coverage was available at less cost would be to give notice of termination and then issue an RFP for that insurance. (Of course, NYSPT would be able to provide a quote in response to the RFP). This is exactly what Hamilton did after informing the Board two months earlier that he was going to do so.1 He did it to get the best value for the District. The Charge is that he cancelled the NYPST contract on 60 days notice but the contract required 120 days notice. In fact, Hamilton did send a 60-day notice on April 20, 2010, relying on advice given him by the District’s insurance consultants. He freely admits that he was not aware that the sixteen year old agreement with NYSPT contained a 120 day notice requirement (the industry norm today is 60 days or less). NYSPT never contacted him to contest the adequacy of the notice. Rather, it appears that VanMinos informed Mevec, who immediately countermanded Hamilton’s letter to NYPST without even speaking with Hamilton. Shortly thereafter, Hamilton received an illegal reprimand that claimed he had jeopardized the District because NYPST was going to sue the District over the inadequate notice. It was later confirmed that NYPST never made this threat. That claim was nonsense. The sad fact is that the District would have saved from $32,000 to $42,000 a year if it had changed from NYSPT to The Hartford. (This is almost a teacher or ½% on the tax levy). The interference by VanMinos and Mevec cost the District a significant amount of money. 3. The Third Party Administrator Contract The District contracted with PenServ to provide Third Party Administrator (“TPA”) services for the teachers and other participants in the District’s 403(b) plan. The Charge is that Hamilton terminated this contract without giving PenServ adequate notice, and did not have the authority to cancel the contract or to inform the staff that the District was going to enter into a TPA contract with OMNI in the future.


Hamilton informed the Board in February that he would issue RFPs on major contracts, including Workers Page 5

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Hamilton wanted to switch the TPA contract from PenServ to OMNI because the teachers and other employees were highly dissatisfied with the poor service they had received from PenServ. Hamilton’s written recommendation to make the change included a laundry list of teacher complaints regarding the poor service provided by PenServ. This Charge erroneously alleges that PenServ’s contract required 60 days’ cancellation notice (actually, the requirement is 90 days). This Charge also erroneously alleges that Hamilton “cancelled” the contract on April 29, 2010. In fact, his April 29, 2010 letter to PenServ stated,
“The purpose of this letter is not to terminate coverage, but to give the JordanElbridge Central School District (Attn: William E. Hamilton) an opportunity to explore its options regarding TPA services.” … “The District is providing this notice pursuant to the 90-day written notification clause in the current contract. If the District is able to secure alternative TPS services in the near-term, it requests PenServ's permission to terminate the contract agreement in less than 90 days.” (Emphasis added).

Moreover, on May 25, 2010, PenServ specifically waived any additional notice. The email stated, “Please accept this email as a release from our TPA Contract. PenServ will not hold you to the 90-day requirement.” On July 7, 2010, the Board adopted a resolution to switch to OMNI. This is the same meeting at which it directed Dominick, in executive session, to suspend Hamilton. Incredibly, these allegations are included in the Charges that were signed by Ms. Alley on August 18th. This was three months after PenServ said it had no problem with the adequacy of the cancellation notice and six weeks after the Board adopted a resolution to switch to OMNI on Hamilton’s recommendation. 4. Temporary (Kelly Services) Employees It is alleged that Hamilton improperly hired temporary workers from Kelly Services.
To begin with, Hamilton is only partly responsible for personnel. VanMinos shares

responsibilities for personnel decisions with several other administrators and District Managers. The Charge does not specify how contracting for temporary services violates the Civil Service Law, and we will have to wait and see what they come up with to support this allegation. However, the fact is that many school districts contract for such temporary services. The Charge alleges that the use of Kelly Services “was not a prudent use of taxpayer money.” The truth is just the opposite. In fact, when pension costs and all other costs are included, a $12 an hour Civil Service employee actually costs the District about $42.00 an hour. That translates to about $50,000 annual savings for 2,000 hours of temporary services compared to the cost of a Civil Service employee with full benefits, including retirement, for the same number of hours.

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Also, the District needed immediate and qualified help that it was not able to obtain off a Civil Service list or by recruiting substitutes. Hamilton kept the Board fully informed, and no Board member ever raised a question or voiced an objection. In fact, they applauded his efforts at the time. 5. Civil Service (Fred Weisskopf) Issue The allegation is that Hamilton improperly hired Fred Weisskopf as a substitute clerical employee in 2004 and changed his status to an hourly employee in 2005 without required Board approval. These claims have been pursued by Diane Foote (“Foote”) ever since she was the District’s Treasurer. Hamilton supervised Foote at that time. He was concerned with the harmful effect that her negative attitude had on the workplace and drafted a counseling memorandum to point out this problem to her and to indicate where she needed to improve. He discussed the draft and Foote’s effects on the rest of the Business Office staff with Dominick and the Board. When Dominick met with Foote to speak about these concerns, Foote abruptly left the meeting and the building (she walked out; she quit). Ever since she has been on the Board, she has relentlessly made petty, usually unfounded and almost always unconstructive criticisms of Hamilton and the Business Office. Weisskopf had run a successful hardware business for many years. He has experience and expertise in inventory, purchasing, receiving, budgeting and more. This experience and expertise is worth well beyond what the District pays him, and his character and integrity are unquestionable. Hamilton believes that Weisskopf’s hourly rate was reduced when he was moved to the hourly rate position in 2005. The Charge also alleges that Weisskopf’s position is out of compliance with the Civil Service Law because he has occasionally worked more than 20 hours a week. While Weisskopf may occasionally work more than 20 hours, he does not work more than 20 hours per week on average throughout the year. The Board was fully aware that Weisskopf was working for the District, and no Board member ever objected. Also, the District submits annual payroll certifications to the County Civil Service Commission and Hamilton is not aware that Civil Service ever raised an issue regarding Weisskopf’s classification or his hours and wages. Finally, Weisskopf has passed the competitive Account Clerk 1 Civil Service exam (Hamilton believes he scored 100). Therefore, he is certainly reachable off that list if a Civil Service appointment is required. Obviously, there was no intention to “get away” with anything regarding Weisskopf’s employment, as the Charge implies. The fact that the Charges incorporate Foote’s unfounded accusations against Hamilton and Weisskopf speaks volumes about the bad faith of the Board.

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6. The Regional Feasibility Study Grant Hamilton wrote an application for a New York State Local Government Efficiency High Priority Planning Grant on behalf of nine school districts and the CayugaOnondaga BOCES to study the feasibility of providing support services for schools on a consolidated regional basis. The state awarded a $50,000 grant, which has the potential to benefit all taxpayers in New York State. This Charge alleges that Hamilton requested a leave of absence on October 1, 2009 to work on the study. That is not true. The minutes of Board meetings confirm that the Board never granted him a leave of absence. The Charge also incorrectly alleges that Hamilton’s duties were transferred to VanMinos for October 2009, who was paid a $700.00 stipend for taking on the additional duties. In fact, she did not perform his duties and they were never transferred to her. Hamilton’s salary was $9,050 a month so $700.00 did not buy his workload. Dominick did allow Hamilton flexible hours during October 2009, and he was also able to work from home to reduce immediate distractions. However, District matters continued to require his attention full-time—either by phone, email, or attendance at meetings. In truth, the overwhelming majority of the work that Hamilton did on the study was performed on nights, weekends and holidays. He has devoted hundreds of hours of his own time for investigation, analysis and writing for the study without any additional compensation Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES is the Lead Education Agency (LEA) for the grant. The agreement between the BOCES and the participating school districts was that Hamilton would provide the professional services required for designated parts of the study, and the BOCES would reimburse the District for Hamilton’s time and expenses from grant funds. Hamilton did not tell the Board that the District would be reimbursed “once BOCES received the grant funds.” This statement makes no sense to anyone who knows how grant funds are disbursed. Rather, the District was to invoice for Hamilton’s services as the work was nearing an end. In fact, an invoice for $11,000 was sent to BOCES (as the LEA) on June 6, 2010. BOCES would have paid the $11,000 without any question and the District would have made a profit of $11,000 since it was never without Hamilton’s services. However, Foote and Alicia Mattie (“Mattie”) interfered with this in their attempt to dig up allegations against Hamilton. Their interference has delayed the payment to the District. The Charge also alleges that salaries are not proper expenditures under the “grant stipulations” and that a consultant should have been hired. This allegation is confused and incorrect. In fact, the BOCES contracted to pay the District $11,000 to obtain Hamilton’s expertise.

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In effect, this Charge accuses the 10 person Steering Committee for the Regional Feasibility Study of misconduct, since Hamilton obviously did not appoint himself. What actually happened was that the Steering Committee (Bill Speck, Dave Boyle, JD Pabis, Marianne O’Connor, Marilyn Dominick, Phil D’Angelo, Dale Bates, Linda Rice, Mary Kay Worth and Hamilton) issued an RFP to selected entities, including the District which was to provide Hamilton’s services. The Charge also alleges that Hamilton held every meeting in connection with the study during a meal time (breakfast, lunch and/or dinner) resulting in additional expenses for the District. First, there were no expenses incurred by the District, since all expenses were invoiced to the LEA (the “BOCES”) and paid by the LEA. Moreover, Hamilton attended many meetings where there were no meal expenses. For example, the Steering Committee met regularly on Monday mornings for several months and there were no meals at these meetings. It is alleged that Hamilton somehow jeopardized reimbursement of District expenses with grant funding. In fact, the District has already been reimbursed for all the expenditures it has incurred. Foote, Mevec and Mattie have been extremely reckless and careless in their accusations. Their claims also impugn the integrity of the 10 individuals who gave up their time to serve on the Steering Committee. Like Chris Sandstrom, they deserve much better treatment from representatives of the District. 7. Personnel Files The Charge alleges that Hamilton should be terminated because “not all personnel files” contain required documents and because the personnel files of former employees are not stored in a secured location. As Assistant Superintendent, Hamilton has to manage scarce resources and prioritize work. As Internal Auditor, Mattie created a checklist of nearly 60 items that she felt needed to be done, which included addressing the maintenance and security of personnel files. However, that does not mean that all tasks had to be done immediately. Given the District’s limited resources, these tasks have to be triaged. The Business Office has been in a temporary location for several years. It was moved out of the basement of the Ramsdell School for environmental reasons. This year, it moved back to the Ramsdell School on the first floor. The District is in the process of consolidating inactive records to a single secure location near the Business Office. Under Hamilton’s watch, all inactive records have been indexed in a software product called Simple Records Manager. The District has also produced a Records Management Plan that complies with SED requirements. Efforts have been made to assemble pieces of a records management system (e.g., scanners, indexing software, records management software, digital microfiche equipment, fixed asset software for depreciation and fixed asset tracking and locating equipment/software). However, the Board has not provided funding for additional
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resources to do further work or for hiring a person who would be dedicated to day-today records management. Hamilton met with Kent Stuetz from NYS Archives this past spring. Stuetz offered to help the District get “back on track” strategically and procedure-wise. This included writing a grant to buy digital microfiche equipment. The plan is to fully consolidate District records to a single location in very close proximity to the Business Office staff. As other large projects wind down, the Business Office staff can turn its attention to this task. Hamilton is confident that once the District has a system and procedures in place, it will be well on its way to having a state-of-the art records management system.

CHARGE THREE This Charge alleges that Hamilton made derogatory comments toward women, the Superintendent, and the Board. It also alleges that he used District funds to pay a parking ticket issued to his personal vehicle which was illegally parked in New York City. 1. The Alleged Comments These allegations are unfounded and people who know Hamilton know that the alleged remarks are not part of his everyday vernacular. It is apparent that these charges are based on claims made by VanMinos. They are either outright fabrications or innocent comments taken out of context and grossly distorted to suit her purposes. It seems clear that VanMinos hopes to take over Hamilton’s position. The Board also gave her a $10,000 raise (an increase of 13%) after she made these claims against Hamilton. The resolution of this Charge will boil down to a credibility contest between Hamilton and VanMinos. We have recently discovered a number of facts that make us confident that any such dispute will be resolved in Hamilton’s favor. The charge in specification 3.1.9 is a good example of either the incompetence or malice, or both, behind all the Charges. It claims that Hamilton “told a female employee that she „was overreacting‟ when she complained to him that a male employee had stated that she needed to share a room with another male employee during a conference trip for the District.” The facts are that this incident occurred when the District was planning accommodations for District employees who would be attending the Massachusetts Unifund conference. The District had a separate room planned for VanMinos but, to best utilize District money, the Central Business Office (“CBO”) in Auburn was told that one of their female employees could share the room with VanMinos if they wanted to split the cost with the District. The CBO responded that one of their female employees would share the room with VanMinos. However, VanMinos objected and said she would not share a room with that woman. At that
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point, Anthony Scro joked and told VanMinos that, if she would not share a room with the CBO employee, to reduce expenses, she could room with Fred Weisskopf. Everyone knew this comment was said in jest. Most important, the comment was not made by Hamilton. In late June, Dominick informed Hamilton that when Alley told her of the Board’s plan to suspend him, she also said that other Board members had directed her to “Stick to the Plan.” The belief is that the “Plan” is to oust seven people--the superintendent, four tenured administrators, one administrator that should have been tenured, and the supervisor of transportation. 2. The Alleged Payment of a “Personal” New York City Parking Ticket The Charge is that Hamilton used the District’s credit card to pay a New York City traffic ticket on his personal vehicle. Perhaps more than any other, this Charge shows how sloppy, or perhaps non-existent, the pre-charge investigation was and how the charges were haphazardly thrown together after Hamilton sued to force the Board to reinstate him or file charges. The fact is that Hamilton was never in NYC during 2008. The ticket was not issued to his personal vehicle. On the face of the ticket, it states that it was issued to a yellow school bus. That school bus had transported the District cross country team to Van Cortland Park in New York City for a meet. Hamilton authorized the payment of this traffic ticket since it was a school vehicle and the bus driver could not have avoided the outcome. Also, there is no doubt that the fine cost less than what it would have cost to park the school bus in a New York City parking lot.

CHARGE FOUR This Charge alleges that Hamilton had “super user” status in the computer system. This Charge is so factually incorrect and half-baked that Hamilton is not sure where to start with his response. 1. Super User Status This charge is false. Hamilton does not have “super user” access to the District’s computer system and he has not had such access for a long time. Whoever presented this charge to Mevec (and we assume it was VanMinos) simply does not understand the workings of the District’s computer system. Moreover, the charge incorrectly states what the Comptroller recommended in his December 2008 report. At that time, Hamilton performed several tasks for the District. Actually, what the Comptroller stated was that Hamilton functioning as the
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Deputy Treasurer was incompatible with his other responsibilities like Purchasing Agent. Long before Hamilton began working for the District in 2003, the Board had a practice of annually appointing its Business Official to also function as the District’s Deputy Treasurer. This dual appointment was the norm. Early on, Hamilton informed Dominick that he would have to create purchase or other claims against the District in his position of Purchasing Agent, while he could also authorize payment of such claims as the District’s Deputy Treasurer. Hamilton recommended to Dominick that this be changed. However, she chose to wait for a reason to act on that recommendation, citing political reasons. The Board finally did change the practice of appointing the Business Official as the Deputy Treasurer as Hamilton had recommended. Hamilton has since worked hard to establish user role definitions that achieve the desired separation of duties while insuring that workflows are not interrupted. The District is now at a point where the user role definitions are the standard for the other school districts that use the BudgetSense software. Specifically, § 4.1.7 of the Charge alleges that in April 2008 “the District’s Internal Auditor (Mattie) performed a security check and discovered that Hamilton’s super user status was restored.” The Charges allege that this was insubordination because it violates directives from the Comptroller and the Internal Auditor. This is an absurd claim. First, the Comptroller’s report was not issued until December 2008, which was eight (8) months after Mattie made her alleged discovery of super user access. Second, Mattie makes recommendations to the Board. She has no authority, whatsoever, to give directives to Hamilton and the Board never adopted her recommendations as policy or otherwise gave Hamilton any directive in this regard. Finally, it appears that Mattie does not know how to determine what access an individual really has within the District’s software system 2. Excessive and/or Abusive Meal Reimbursements It is alleged that Hamilton is responsible for the excessive use and/or abuse of meal reimbursements, and that this was “a repeated comment from April 2009 and August 2009 Internal Audit Reports” prepared by Mattie and submitted to the Board. While Mattie may have reported on the District’s food policy, or the absence thereof, it was Hamilton’s observation that the Board was not in agreement on this finding or on how to proceed. For example, Board member Kelly Ochsner said at one meeting that it is counterproductive and will ultimately cost more in poor morale to have an absolute “no food” policy. Others agreed. It is alleged that Hamilton submitted several claims for meals, including dinners when "working late at the office." No detail is provided, and it is not known if “several” means 10 or 100 or what period of time is covered by this charge. On occasion, deadlines required Hamilton and his staff to work long after the regular workday or
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on weekends or holidays. It would not be right for the District to demand this kind of overtime and not expect to feed people a simple meal. With respect to the allegations regarding "official meetings," administrators were required to meet with community groups to promote passage of the budget and discuss other District issues. The District cannot reasonably require that Hamilton attend these events and then require him to pay to the cost of attendance with his own money. In any event, Dominick reviewed and approved all of Hamilton’s claims. She obviously approved them because she knew why they were incurred. If there was an issue, Hamilton was not made aware of it. This Charge alleges that meals/snacks were purchased through Advanced Meals, the District's food service vendor by members of the district staff for various meetings and functions. As of July 2010, these additional meals and snacks amounted to approximately $9,966.67. Hamilton cannot respond to this allegation without seeing the supporting data. He will say, however, that he has taken significant steps to make this expense transparent and that the District now has a specific program code for all departments to track these expenses. In years’ past, these expenses would have been buried in generic expense accounts. Why would Hamilton create this transparency if he was trying to hide something? Moreover, the expenses per building do not appear excessive. This number includes various traditional events, including, the annual welcome back staff reception, various Board-sponsored socials, stress-de-stress day for students, inter-municipal breakfasts and more. 3. Alleged Double Reimbursement for $40.00 Meal This Charge alleges that Hamilton was reimbursed twice for the same $40.00 meal charge. This is false. In fact, these were two separate meals that were days apart from each other. 4. Reimbursement of Treasurer‟s Fingerprinting Cost This Charge alleges that the District Treasurer should not have been reimbursed for the $94.25 it cost for him to be fingerprinted at the District’s request in 2009-2010. In fact, the Board’s elaborate policy on fingerprinting (Policy # 6132) does not mention the level for reimbursement cited in the Charge, and that was apparently put in place by a Board resolution adopted at some time in the past. Even if a mistake was made, all the District had to do was simply request reimbursement from Mr. Scro. It certainly did not require a 3020-a proceeding to bring this matter to Hamilton’s attention.

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In fact, on August 24th (the day before the Charges were served on Hamilton), Dominick sent a letter to Mr. Scro (that was copied to Mattie and Alley) explaining the mistake and asking him to reimburse the $94.25 cost of fingerprinting. In a handwritten note attached to the letter, Dominick stated: “Anthony – You‟re not the only one who was reimbursed in error. Marilyn” In other words, the District pursued this Charge against Hamilton for allegedly squandering taxpayer money, despite the fact that it was seeking reimbursement from Mr. Scro. 5. Alleged Deletion of E-mails This Charge alleges that, Hamilton knew that his actions were being investigated in May, June and July 2010 and that he deleted his e-mails and calendaring from the District's computer system before his access rights were terminated. Hamilton did not delete his email or calendar. In fact, his email and calendar automatically move to his archive folder after 30 days. This is yet another example of ignorance and sloppy pre-charge investigation. CHARGE FIVE These allegations simply repeat earlier Charges addressed above.

{W0165160.1}O’Hara, O’Connell & Ciotoli - Response to 3020-a Charges

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