ERIC Number: ED352729
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
A System Like No Other: Fraud and Misconduct by New York City School Custodians.
Flamm, Suzan R.; And Others
Findings of a study that investigated cases of fraud and misconduct in the New York City school custodial system are presented in this document. Custodial services are provided through a "quasi-independent" contractor, or an "indirect system." Although custodians are public employees, they have great independence and lack supervision and accountability. The investigations are based on complainants' allegations and information from confidential sources. Following the introduction, section 2 describes the processes for checking attendance, evaluating, and supervising custodians. Four cases in which custodians were paid for work they did not perform are described; these custodians engaged in lucrative second careers and recreational pursuits on the job. Section 3 is based on a survey of 64 school custodial staff members; it found 10 custodial employees with criminal histories. Ways in which custodians hire employees with criminal backgrounds are described. The fourth section presents cases of payroll fraud, and the fifth section describes ways in which the antinepotism rule was circumnavigated. Time-clock abuse as standard operating procedure is the subject of section 6. Section 7 describes how the "compliance" auditing system presents opportunities for misuse of budgets and acquisitions to hide theft. The practice of stealing of user fees is highlighted in section 8. A conclusion is that the system facilitated wrongdoing through its lack of controls and accountability. Recommendations are made to: (1) terminate the employment of seven custodians and one custodial employee; (2) give principals control over custodians; (3) conduct background personnel checks; (4) establish rules for proper record keeping and conduct routine fraud audits; and (5) set clear antinepotism standards. (LMI)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: New York City Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation, NY.