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School treasurer blames wrongful termination on overspending

The former treasurer of a school district in Syracuse claims he took the fall when the school superintendent authorized overspending on the yearly budget. According to one report, the school district end-of-year expense budget was over $11,000, but auditors claimed the actual spending amount, which had been approved by taxpayers, was closer to $350,000.

The dismissed treasurer disagreed with the district's side of the story, which resulted in his termination. The superintendent claimed the former employee was let go due to poor job performance and inaccuracy in balancing the books. As the mud-slinging continues in the media, preparations are being made by the state to conduct a review of all financial ledgers.

In evidence provided in his own defense, the 45- year-old former treasurer issued a statement saying the district had previously given him excellent job evaluations and awarded him a substantial bonus in for outstanding quality of work.

The claimant states he has extensive experience in his field, serving two terms on the city council and later as deputy finance commissioner. When he was hired to work at the school district, he had a team of five people. At the time of his termination, the staff had dwindled to one other person besides himself. He contends he was expected to absorb the work of a five-person department.

The dismissed treasurer had warned the superintendent several times to curtail spending and recommended a freeze at one point. He claims these recommendations fell on deaf ears, and the superintendent continued to assure auditors the books were balanced and spending was on track. When the final audit indicated inaccuracies in accounting procedures and reports that the books were not balanced, the evaluations of the treasurer's job turned sour. His final warning to the district sealed his fate, but the superintendent stated he would not be held accountable for the blame. Shortly after, the treasurer was dismissed. When he requested a severance package, it was denied.

Wrongful termination in this case was based on one person claiming he was doing the right thing on the job. Frequently this may involve implicating the higher-ups in wrongdoings. If a person is terminated on the basis of these acts, it is a clear case of wrongful termination, which is illegal, as well as a violation of employee rights on the job.

Source: Syracuse.com, "Former Jordan-Elbridge schools treasurer says he warned the superintendent of over spending" Charley Hannagan, Oct. 08, 2013

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