Murtagh Will Call on Council to Defer Action on Board of Ed. Capital Funding Request; Intervene in Lawsuit
Yonkers, NY — Responding to a lawsuit filed by the Yonkers Board of Education which seeks to block the Yonkers Inspector General from auditing the books of the Yonkers Board of Education, Councilman John Murtagh (R-5) said today that he will call upon his City Council colleagues to defer approval of the Board’s $25million dollar borrowing plan which the Council was to have voted on next Tuesday. The Board of Education, in a recent change of policy, has taken the position that it is not subject to the jurisdiction of the Inspector General. It was recently disclosed that on September 29, 2009 the Board filed suit in New York State Supreme Court seeking a declaration of its right to deny review of its books and records.
“As elected officials we are responsible to the taxpayers for knowing how their money is spent” Murtagh said, “ our school system receives nearly half a billion dollars in taxpayer money every year yet refuses to open its books to review. Until the Board of Education is prepared to acknowledge the taxpayers’ right to know how their money is spent we cannot in good conscience continue to allow the Board to just borrow and spend”.
“The Inspector General conducts audits and investigations at the request of the Mayor and the Council”, Murtagh noted. “The Mayor and the Council answer to the citizens and taxpayers. Thus, the School Board has really filed suit against the people of Yonkers. Until we get a satisfactory answer to why the Board refuses to open its financial books and records, we should not continue to hand it blank checks”.
Murtagh said he would also be submitting a Resolution to the Council urging that it instruct its attorneys to move to intervene in the Board’s lawsuit in support of the Inspector General.
“Year in and year out our Trustees and Superintendent cry poverty, yet they now find the money to hire a Manhattan law firm to bring wasteful and counter-productive litigation against the City”, Murtagh concluded. “Their actions are frivolous and wrongheaded and, worse, jeopardize the interests of our school children”.