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After more questions, East schools finance chief immediately retires

Jay Augustine is finance director for East AurorSchool District.

Jay Augustine is the finance director for the East Aurora School District.

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Updated: October 24, 2012 6:42AM

AURORA — After more financial discrepancies were discovered this week, East Aurora’s assistant superintendent of finance retired unexpectedly Friday.

According to East Aurora schools spokesman Clayton Muhammad, finance chief Jay Augustine told Superintendent Jerome Robert Friday that he wanted to retire immediately. Earlier this month, Augustine had submitted paperwork to retire in November.

“After further investigation (of) some of the anomalies regarding internal controls in the finance department, it was mutually decided between Mr. Augustine and Dr. Roberts to accept his retirement... today,” Muhammad said.

After other district finance issues came to light, East Aurora School Board President Annette Johnson said she discovered this week that employee insurance premiums did not match insurance bills the district was paying. Johnson is an accountant.

“That internal control, matching insurance bills to the payroll, that was not happening,” Johnson said. “That was not being kept very clean.”

Johnson said the district’s finance department was not collecting the correct deductions.

Johnson brought the situation to Roberts Thursday, she said. Roberts met with Augustine on Friday.

The School Board has decided to hire an external insurance auditor to audit the district’s insurance procedures.

Earlier this week, Johnson said she “lost trust” for the some of the district’s administrators. She said the district took a “large hit” in late fees for utility bills that were paid late. Augustine was responsible for paying those bills.

Johnson also said the district’s maintenance department made 800 trips in seven months to an area hardware store. East Aurora board member Richard Leonard said Friday that Augustine was responsible for overseeing those maintenance purchases.

After the financial issues were brought to Augustine’s attention, he submitted papers to retire in November. Augustine has worked for the district since 2003, Muhammad said.

Johnson said Friday that she met with Augustine frequently about the district’s finances. “He always gave me the right answers,” Johnson said. “I don’t know. Maybe he just wasn’t watching the day-to-day.”

Through Muhammad, Augustine declined to comment Friday.

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