One Year After Scathing Audit, Auditor General returns to Scranton

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Pennsylvania’s Auditor General is asking all school districts across the commonwealth for their sexual harassment policies tonight.

The move comes after published reports indicate the superintendent of the Scranton School District claims she was harassed by a school board member.

This week marks exactly one year since PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale came to Scranton to release the results of a scathing audit which claimed the Scranton School District was one of the worst run in the state.

On Thursday, as he returned to Scranton, we wanted to know if he thinks anything has changed?

“I’m not going away until I’m done in office,” Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said.

One year later, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale still has his sights set on the Scranton School District.

He believes some school board members have heeded his dire financial warnings but he fears other have not.

“They’ve got to be a better team here for it to work,” DePasquale said.

After published reports in the Times-Tribune newspaper, which say the superintendent raised claims that she was sexually harassed by a school board member, DePasquale seemed almost dumbfounded.

“It would be beyond comprehension to me that anyone would think that this is tolerable behavior!” DePasquale said.

DePasquale is now sending the district a letter asking for a copy of its policy on sexual harassment as well as any training that staff and board members go through.

Given continued public squabbles on the board and a bus contract that DePasquale says still doesn’t follow best business practices, he pointed out that a previous state lawmaker considered legislation that would have allowed the PA Auditor General to dissolve school boards that weren’t working.

“If I had that authority, Scranton would be one of the first districts I would consider using that authority with,” DePasquale said.

Over the last year, some current and former board members have criticized the tone of DePasquale’s messages in Scranton.

We asked him how he would respond to someone saying he’s “picking on” the Scranton School District.

“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt!” DePasquale said.

As for his statewide request for sexual harassment policies, DePasquale says whenever a district lacks a policy or ignores one that is in place, they put themselves at a greater risk of being sued.

An email seeking comment from the Scranton School District superintendent Thursday afternoon was not immediately returned. No members of the school district attended Thursday’s news conference.

In the coming days, the Scranton School District will have to fill a vacancy on its board because of the death of director Carol Oleski.

The PA Auditor General urged officials to take that responsibility seriously.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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