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Daily Freeman Life Editor Ivan Lajara talks about journalism, living in the Hudson Valley, language, the Web, cats and even politics. But he shouldn't.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

How to turn multiple instances of double dipping into 'two instances'

It's easy!

During a press conference that the Freeman broadcast live on Wednesday with School Superintendent Gerald Gretzinger and Board of Education President James Shaughnessy about the Timothy Mattews scandal, the board president said, "there appears to be two instances where double dipping was detected" at the school.



And Gretizinger said, "If there were two instances as (former top business official) Mr. Pritchard claims ... Two instances where possibly there was a discrepancy over three years that  Mr. Pritchard was in that office."



During the live chat online, however, someone posted this while the conference was taking place:


That, exactly, was my recollection:




This is no discovery. The Freeman reported, in January, that ,"the school district’s former top business official recalled denying a time sheet submission by the detective lieutenant, causing a disagreement with Superintendent Gerard Gretzinger." (This is the said disagreement that Gretzinger says he doesn't remember)

This is that account, as reported in that story:

Robert Pritchard, who was assistant superintendent for business operations from 2007 to 2010, recounted an occasion on which Detective Lt. Timothy Matthews made a pay claim that raised a red flag and which Pritchard denied.

Pritchard said he subsequently was summoned to Gretzinger’s office to explain why the claim had not been approved.

...

Pritchard said he, ... at that time, asked: “What if we get audited?”

This was noted and not paid, all the parties involved do point out. It was also pointed out multiple times by Gretzinger that he doesn't remember said incident with Pritchard and that he first saw the 'double dip' time sheet one or two (?) weeks ago, and that it wasn't paid (did I mentioned they mentioned it wasn't paid?).
Now I'm trying to concoct a reality where both Pritchard and Gretzinger's stories match. You're welcome to help me out.

Also, State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli said during a press conference that was not attended by Gretzinger  (he wasn't invited, he said on Wednesday), that the comptroller's office found 16 instances, totaling 57 hours, in which Matthews submitted a claim for time worked as a security guard at Kingston High School that coincided with hours he claimed for police overtime during the 2009-10 school year.

kingston audit

This report doesn't mean that there were 16 instances that school official noted as two. If anything, that would have been tripple dipping (school at two places at once, plus police work). But the dates do differ. And both Gretzinger and Shaughnessy said they didn't have access to city numbers or the comptroller's information.
Yet, I think I can count, and two instances is neither 16 nor five.

So, for clarification purposes: There were more than two instances of double dipping that the school knows and/or knew about. And those were caught and not paid.

Finally, a word of advice: If the state comptroller has a report with "Kingston City School District" on it and you happen to be the leader of the Kingston City School District, it would be wise to attend such a heavily-advertised-for-days conference, even if you are "not invited." I wasn't invited either, and I was there (and I was actually really busy that week working on Preview, running the Life section, tweeting, blogging, working on the Spanish paper, writing a column and finishing our most awesome Pet Contest).

Just sayin'

UPDATE: Here's the other time sheet, with three more instances of an attempt to 'double dip.' This bring the total instances the school denied pay due to double-dipping to eight, or - as school officials called it, "two."

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