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Dismissed Under a Cloud, Former New Rochelle Administrator Given $54,000 “Golden Parachute”

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Dismissed Under a Cloud, Former New Rochelle Administrator Given $54,000 “Golden Parachute”

May 10, 2016 - 21:07
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John Quinn at a New Rochelle Board Education meeting January, 2014

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Based on a review of public records obtained under a Freedom of Information Request, it appears there were several major inaccuracies and irregularities in payments issued to a disgraced former Assistant Superintendent for Business & Administration for the City School District of New Rochelle totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

John Quinn was let go by the District as a result of incompetence and malfeasance on his watch as the district’s CFO: millions of dollars of improper invoices were paid to outside contractors, including large sums in illegal no-bid contracts, ranging from hundreds of thousands to meet ADA requirements at New Rochelle High School (and then failing to do so anyway) to the infamous $5,000 paint job on the Trinity School flagpole. Aramark ran wild under Quinn. There was the asbestos scandal at Davis Schools. Rampant inventory and overtime abuse. It was Quinn who attempted to place Aramark employees on the district payroll in violation of the Aramark contract. It was Quinn who repeatedly told the board he was reading from a new Aramark contract during a board meeting when it later turned out there was no such contract. It was Quinn who allowed school board member David Lacher to effectively misappropriate over $13,500 to pay for his personal medical insurance. It was Quinn who proposed budgets that failed to fund capital improvements, failed to balance budgets and depleted the district’s fund balance so the district was given a failing grade by the New York State comptroller. And so much more. In short, Quinn was a disaster.

Quinn ought to have been indicted, some say. At the very least he should have been run out of town on a rail. Instead he was given a hearty farethreewell in the form of a tax-payer funded “golden parachute” on the way out the door.

Quinn started work for the district on July 1, 2007.  He was notified in June 2014 that his contract would not be renewed. After June 30, 2014, the last day of his contract, Quinn did not report to work again yet continued to cash paychecks for four more months.

Monthly Attendance Reports for his entire term of employment in New Rochelle were reviewed along with Attendance Detail Reports and his contract with the district. In addition to the major inaccuracies and irregularities in payments there are several minor ones as well.

The Attendance Detail Reports for an employee list a running total of available sick days and vacation days for that employee. Quinn's Attendance Detail Report, as of July 1, 2014, states that Quinn had accrued 40 Vacation Days and 98 Sick Days.

After Quinn’s contract ended on June 30, 2014, the New Rochelle Board of Education failed to authorize further payments to Quinn so it is not clear from the records the legal basis for the ongoing payments to Quinn in July 2014 and early August 2014.

On August 5, 2014, the New Rochelle Board of Education passed a resolution, approving Quinn's retirement effective October 31, 2014.

It is worth noting that the motion to approve the resolution was made by Rachel Relkin, Vice President of the Board and a current school board candidate.

The legal basis for this is not apparent from the records: there is no resolution extending Quinn's contract beyond June 30, 2014, no approval of payments made between June 30, 2014 and August 5, 2014, not even retroactively and no explanation as to why Quinn, with his contract  terminated, would continue to draw paychecks while not reporting to work or why he was granted a full annual allotment of sick days and vacation days as if he was expected to work for the entire 2014-15 school year. The entire matter is highly irregular.

Quinn was allowed to remain on the payroll until October 31, 2014, one-third of a year, so he would only be entitled to 8.33 pro-rated Vacation Days for the period from July 2014 to October 2014 in addition to the 15 Vacation Days which could be carried over annually as per his contract. 

As of October 31, 2014, he would have been entitled to a total of 23.33 Vacation Days not the 40 Vacation Days (his annual accrual 25 Vacation Days + 15 carry over Vacation Days) listed on top of the Attendance Detail Report.  He used all 40 of these days in September and October 2014. Therefore, he was paid for 16.67 Vacation Days, at his per diem rate of $926.73, more than he was entitled to.  A total of $15,449. 

Over seven full years working for the district, Quinn accumulated 98 Sick Days (14 Sick Days each year).  From July 2007 through October 2014, John Quinn accounted for 87.5 days of his absences as Sick Days.  He was entitled to receive another 4.67 Sick Days for the period from July 1, 2014 to October 31, 2014 for a total of 102.67 Sick Days.  Upon his departure from the school district, he should have per his contract received payment for 15.17 Unused Sick Days, at $30.00 per day, not the 90 days that he received.  Or another $2,245.  

According to his attendance sheet for July 2014, there are no absences listed.  For August 2014, 1 Sick Day and 4 Personal Days are listed but all the other days were considered work days although Quinn did not report to work in July or August (or September or October). There would appear to be 22 days in July and 16 days in August which are unaccounted for.  At his per diem rate of $926.73, this amounts to a total of $35,216 in salary where he was paid but did not report to work.

Taken together ($15,449 + $2,245 + $35,216), Quinn was paid $52,910 for days he did not work or for vacation days and sick days he had not earned.

Requests for information or an explanation were directed to Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Joesph Williams who did not responded to repeated requests for a response.

Quinn Golden Parchcute FOIL Request