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As Scranton Board Looks To Hire Invesigator, One Director Wants Employees To Resign

September 25, 2018

SCRANTON The Scranton School Board plans to hire independent counsel to investigate claims made by a grand jury last week, including misuse of taxpayer money by current and retired employees. Meanwhile, one school director called for any employee involved, including those who knew of the alleged illegal actions of former fleet manager Daniel Sansky and did not come forward, to resign immediately. “The school district and, broadly, the community cannot move forward if these individuals who took personal benefits remain in their positions of power,” Director Paige Gebhardt Cognetti said at Monday night’s work session. Last week, a statewide grand jury found Sansky routinely overbilled the school district and charged the district for work on the personal vehicles of at least a dozen employees or their family members. Sansky faces seven felony counts, including corrupt organizations, dealing in unlawful proceeds, criminal conspiracy and theft by deception. Investigators claim Sansky worked with an “unnamed co-conspirator” to submit false and inflated invoices. The Times-Tribune confirmed that the “unnamed co-conspirator” is Gregg Sunday, who retired as the district’s chief financial officer last year. Some employees, including current and retired maintenance employees, routinely received state inspections at no charge. The presentment only identifies them by initials. The free inspection list also includes a notation for someone with the initials “BL,” described as an active school board member. Director Bob Lesh denied ever receiving free services from Sansky. Lesh did not address the report Monday night. As the state investigation continues, more charges are likely, the state’s chief deputy attorney general has said. The work session included little discussion of the grand jury report. The board will request proposals from attorneys to conduct an internal investigation, board President Barbara Dixon said at the start of Monday’s meeting. That investigation will help guide the board with what actions to take against the employees involved, she said. A cost for legal services has not been determined. Superintendent Alexis Kirijan, Ed.D., has also proposed a “plan of action.” She declined to provide The Times-Tribune with a copy of that plan Monday night and said school directors have to approve it first. In the week since Sansky’s arrest, directors have stressed the need for greater transparency, tighter control and more oversight. Contact the writer: shofius@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9133; @hofiushallTT on Twitter

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