An Arkansas Legislative Audit has found that two Pine Bluff School District employees who provided security and painting services falsified their hours and forged a supervisor's name.
The audit report says that for 145 days, one employee charged the district for working 20 or more hours per day, including 32 days with more than 24 hours charged in a single day.
Additionally, 100 hours were claimed by an employee for painting work at district campuses; however, that employee was out of town providing security for students on field trips at the time the painting was supposed to have been done.
“During interviews with (auditors), the approving supervisor indicated, and we confirmed, that his signature was forged on some of the timesheets, which were used to support wages totaling $69,781 ($35,696 paid to Employee A and $34,085 paid to Employee B) for painting services,” the audit report said.
“In addition, both employees acknowledged that the hours reflected on these timesheets were not actually worked, and they were not entitled to the pay they received for these hours.”
Suzette Bloodman, who handles communications for the PBSD, said that the employees are no longer with the district and that the matter has been turned over to the prosecutor's office.
Additionally, the audit noted that the district did not obtain competitive bids on the purchase of five buses at a total cost of $441,400, and five bus air conditioning units at a total cost of $35,000. Arkansas Code Annotated 6-21-301 requires bid solicitation for certain purchases when the estimated cost equals or exceeds $20,000, the audit report said.
The audit also found that the district "failed to establish internal controls, including retention of verification documentation, to ensure vendors were not suspended or debarred, thus increasing the risk of the district doing business with prohibited parties. Although goods and services had been properly received and rendered ... the district did not verify that applicable vendors had not been suspended or debarred by the federal government. No vendors with which the district conducted business were identified during the audit period as suspended or debarred parties."
As a result, district officials told state auditors that contractor verification documentation will now be maintained in each contract file, according to the audit report.
The district has been under state control for several months due to fiscal distress.