November 25, 2008

Granto Finances Deserve Further Scrutiny

By all accounts, Niagara Falls School District Superintendent Carmen Granto is a well respected and well liked gentleman. But the ongoing release of the sordid financial details of his tenure as the district chief cannot simply be excused with his resignation.

In an analysis by the The Buffalo News, Granto was found to have used his credit card at will, with no limits. His expenses included limousines, golf outings and expensive dinners, with alcohol.

Unfortunately, the most recent indiscretions are far from the first. Both the state comptroller's office and the state education Department cite improprieties in the handling of the district's finances.

Granto, upon learning of the comptroller's recent audit, promptly announced his resignation. But why should it be allowed to end there? Why should we, the taxpayers, reward Granto with what will likely be a six-digit pension? What he has done here, with taxpayer dollars, is no different than what we read in the paper every day. Greed. Corporate greed. School district greed. The only difference is that instead of the shareholder and customers paying, we, the metaphorically speaking shareholders and customers, have been the ones paying the bill.

Like a typical public sector employee, Granto has that sickening mentality of entitlement. I'm sure he thinks he's been entitled to every inappropriate expenditure he's ever made. I mean, he is the Super of one of the worst school districts in the state. Why shouldn't he shower himself with limos, golf outings and top shelf booze?

It's even more astounding that the members of the school board have known about the ongoing financial irregularities. Previous audits have been highly critical of the board for their lack of oversight. The board's response? Virtually nothing. How the hell any of them can actually be claiming to serve the public is beyond me.

Which leaves us with Granto. I have no idea what the law states is allowed when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars that one is charged with overseeing. But this whole thing flat-out stinks. The comptroller needs to get back in here to to determine if any laws were broken, and if so, an example needs to be made of anyone who knowingly allowed taxpayer dollars to be misused. Of course, you could just resign; apparently that exonerates one from facing the music.


Barney said...

I agree completely.

And I’m getting sick of hearing Board President Robert Kazeangin Jr down play everything as small book keeping mistakes and bad reporting.

And more damming is the fact that Granto and Bianco covered up the actions of then business administrator James J. Ingrasci – they blamed his action on a computer glitch. The community believes that they intentionally mislead the public.

The sad fact is that our school district has been run like their family's personal thiefdom for years.

Everyone on that board has gained personally do to Granto - that how he's kept them in line. And our local press is too lazy to do any real investigating reporting – they just print what is “spoon fed” to them by the PR people.

The talk in the coffee shops is that what’s in the press is only the “tip of the iceberg”. No one has yet looked into Mr. Cranto’s many business dealing with district contractors. Also not reported is Granto mismanagement of a failed computer software system installation that cost tax payers millions of dollars.

Audit Committee Chairman Christopher H. Brown should be ashamed of himself for letting this go in checked. The entire board should resign for their gross mismanagement of Mr. Granto.

Keep up the good work

Frank DeGeorge said...

Most people would agree that Granto has done a solid job running a difficult district. He has done his best to keep costs reasonable while still educating kids.

What I find disheartening is that people use this fact that he has done his job as an excuse for these terrible ethical lapses. Barney is dead on about getting tired of Granto apologists' on the school board.

Granto was a good superintendent. But that does not excuse the damning findings of the auditor's report.

Rastamick61 said...

Can it truly be said the guy was a good Superintendent if his tenure included this type of arrogant misuse of funds ? This CEO mentality is sad enough on Wall St. but when we have to hear how it's all for the kids it's downright putrid.