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KELLY: Do Your Duty Or Get Off The Potty

September 26, 2018

Determined to get to the bottom of uncomfortable questions, Scranton School Board President Barbara Dixon on Monday night directed solicitor John Minora to review district policy on potty training for 3-year-old preschoolers:

■ Is potty training required?

■ Do parents know?

■ Is Kelly making this up?

Yes, maybe and no, I am not making this up.

At its first work session since the former district “fleet manager” was arrested on accusations of overbilling and fleecing taxpayers, the board spent more time publicly discussing potty training than the state probe into the district’s chronic culture of corruption and institutional incompetence.

A grand jury charged Dan Sansky, 67, with seven felonies, including criminal conspiracy and theft by deception. Between 2009 and 2017, he charged the district at least $785,195 with little or no documentation. The state attorney general’s office said Sansky had an unnamed and so-far uncharged co-conspirator, which The Times-Tribune confirmed is retired district Chief Financial Officer Gregg Sunday.

Sunday ran district business for 34 years. He approved Sansky’s phony bills and likely knows where countless “bodies” are buried. That Sunday has not been charged is reason for many in his tight, grimy orbit to whistle past the graveyard.

Which is what Dixon and the board did Monday night. The president made a brief statement about the investigation and announced that the board will seek bids from attorneys to conduct an internal probe before taking any action against employees implicated in the state’s investigation.

“I just want someone to guide us through this,” Dixon told me after the meeting. “I want to make sure we get it right.”

And kick the can down the road. Finding a local firm with no ties to directors or past business with the district may be impossible. The process will definitely not be quick, and why should taxpayers once again foot the bill for a board that refuses to do its duty?

The grand jury found that some district officials and employees — including Sunday — and their families routinely received free state inspections and other repairs at Sansky’s West Elm Street garage. The grand jury report identifies them by initials, including “BL.”

Director Bob Lesh denied ever getting free service at Danny’s Garage. He was at Monday’s board work session and smiling on the front page of Tuesday’s Times-Tribune. Lesh hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing, but if he is the “BL” referenced in the report, he has no business serving on the board.

Director Paige Gebhardt Cognetti said as much after the board cleared its agenda of pressing issues like preschool potty training.

“The school district and, broadly, the community cannot move forward if these individuals who took personal benefits remain in their positions of power,” she said.

The board’s response to Cognetti’s statement was initiated by Dixon.

“Motion to adjourn,” the president said.

“BL” grinned from ear to ear as he strolled out the door.

CHRIS KELLY, the Times-Tribune columnist, potty trained early. Contact the writer: kellys

world@ timesshamrock.com,

@cjkink on Twitter. Read his award-winning blog at timestri

buneblogs.com/kelly.

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