North Stonington report released on former superintendent's use of school district credit card

North Stonington - The Board of Finance released copies of its audit of former Superintendent Natalie Pukas' school district credit card use Friday morning, along with advice that the town create written policies and procedures for proper documentation of employee expenses.

The audit, dated Aug. 10, from J.H. Cohn LLP Accountants & Consultants, reviews Pukas' district credit card activity between July 1, 2008, and April 19, 2012, and analyzes which expenditures were not "district related." It also reviews the former superintendent's expense reimbursement reports between July 1, 2008, and March 31, 2012, as well as the superintendent's contract.

The audit results coincided with Pukas' paying the town $18,491.09, which includes the cost of the audit at $6,000. The settlement agreement was accepted Monday at a special joint meeting of the Board of Finance, Board of Education and Board of Selectmen. The former superintendent resigned in June amid accusations that she had misused a district credit card in her name during her tenure. The Board of Finance launched a forensic audit earlier this year.

The summary of the credit card and expense report activity shows $3,744.20 spent on restaurant expenditures that were not district-related, and $4,454.75 spent on conference-related items. An additional $4,292.14 is listed for travel reimbursement and mileage items.

The majority of individual expenses listed in the audit are from restaurants - including Dunkin' Donuts and Mystic Pizza II.

The amounts are less than $100 each. Other, pricier expenditures include those for several hotels and airlines and some restaurant bills topping $100.

The consultant also gives detailed recommendations to the town, including that the town implement formal policies for use of the district credit card, employee reimbursements and for staff to raise concerns about district operations.


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