In a recent interview with 11Alive news reporter Jon Shirek, Michael Thurmond stated that he is fixing our fiscal problems in part by hiring a new CFO. [Point of clarity: Thurmond makes it sound as if the CFO he replaced was the one who oversaw the era of Pope/Lewis. However, the CFO Thurmond replaced, Mr. Perrone, was actually only hired about a year ago by Dr. Atkinson. He came to us from Jacksonville Florida schools and was a replacement for Marcus Turk, who was the CFO during the actual time that the alleged fraud and racketeering occurred. Turk was fired by Atkinson. Perrone resigned under Thurmond. Thurmond hired Michael Bell, with whom he had already been consulting.]
In the interview, Thurmond says to Shirek, “We’re working very hard to restore trust and integrity,” Thurmond said. “One of my primary directives from the Board who hired me was to look at the entire operation, from top to bottom, to create better accountability, improve fiscal management, so that we could be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. We hired a new CFO who’s very experienced, and I’ve been very impressed by the work that he’s done up until this point.”
“On Monday, the superintendent’s office emailed to 11Alive News a list of the major developments, so far, that Thurmond believes will show that “we’re moving in the right direction, we’re addressing the discrepancies and the shortcomings wherever they may exist, to restore and rebuild the fiscal operations of this district.”
[According to Thurmond, so far he has:]
- Instituted a mid-year FY2013 spending freeze.
- Hired experienced Chief Financial Officer to lead fiscal reforms.
- Developed, adopted and implementing a FY2014 balanced budget.
- Eliminated the FY2012 all funds budget deficit ($13.9 Million).
- Reduced FY2014 budget by $18.5 Million including $6 Million in legal fees.
- Structured the FY2013 Monthly Financial Reports to the BOE on a GAAP basis.
- Hired a Budget Manager and hiring a new Budget Analyst.
- Purchased new School Based accounting software (Estimated rollout completion 7/1/2014).
- Instituted rewrite of Accounting Standard Operating Procedures (Ongoing process).
- Adopted procedures, policies and processes to address monitoring of internal controls.
- Ended FY 2013 with DE046 General Fund Balance of $10.8 million.