Originally created 03/10/99

Dohrmann audit heads to state board



An external audit of former Columbia County schools Superintendent Tom Dohrmann will be forwarded to Georgia's Professional Standards Commission.

County school board members voted 4-0 Tuesday to send audit results and supporting documents to the state agency on the recommendation of board attorney Jim Blanchard. Board member Regina Buccafusco abstained.

The Professional Standards Commission handles licensing and certification for teachers and enforces standards and ethics in the education field.

The audit -- released in February by auditors from Cherry, Bekaert and Holland -- pointed out overpayments on expenses, lack of proper documentation on travel expenses and benefits Dr. Dohrmann received that went beyond the stipulations of his contract. Auditors suggested more stringent internal controls on benefits, cash disbursements and salaries.

Dr. Dohrmann resigned in November after school board members raised concerns about travel expenses, leave time and his conduct on the job.

Leland Malchow, Dr. Dohrmann's attorney, praised Mr. Blanchard for his recommendation and said he hopes a third-party investigation will settle things.

Dr. Dohrmann, reached at home Tuesday, said he hasn't done anything he shouldn't have.

"I welcome involving the professional standards people, and maybe this can put this to rest," Dr. Dohrmann said. "My concern is I want my name cleared. I've done nothing wrong."

Mrs. Buccafusco said she abstained from the vote because she was not on the school board during last year's discussions surrounding Dr. Dohrmann's resignation.

"I just felt that was the best choice," she said. "I didn't want to vote against it."

Board members Tuesday also approved a budget amendment for $8,000 to pay Cherry, Bekaert and Holland for the initial audit. The board approved additional audit services to be done. Auditors will work to ensure that the school system has proper checks and balances, especially in finances and payroll, interim Superintendent Tommy Price said.

The board unanimously voted on a proposal that puts auditors working 70 hours a month with the school system at a maximum cost of $4,500 a month.

The contract would continue through December.

Peggy Ussery can be reached at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 112, or ussery@augustachronicle.com.