Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Spoiled Frozen Food May Be The Tip Of The Iceberg

The real story about the millions of dollars of food thrown out by Memphis City Schools is yet to come out, according to inspectors at Memphis and Shelby County Health Department.

The party line from the district is that too much frozen food was ordered and it was not stored properly. That was accurate to a point.

According to health officials, there are questions about the vendors for the food, how food is ordered, how it was tracked to make sure it went for authorized purposes and whether fraud took place.

Interim Superintendent Dan Ward said it’s all a “glitch,” a comment which demonstrates an apparent passion for understatement.

More to the point, health inspectors say that the most troubling aspect for them is the scope of the problem and an apparent attempt to cover it up. According to them, the value of the food could reach eight digits, and that spoiled food had been refrozen intentionally and mixed with food with current expiration dates to obscure the problem.

Most troubling to health officials is the prospect that records were destroyed or altered to prevent them from easily determining the dimensions of the problem and its causes. No one in local government takes their jobs more seriously than food inspectors, and they are appalled at the risk to students’ health that the food handling created.

Fortunately, the school board seems to have a better grasp of the problem than the staff and understands the need for a serious, objective audit to determine the facts of the problem. It’s impossible to disagree with Commissioner Wanda Halbert that the superintendent needs to deal with this quickly.


Anonymous said...

The CA reports that Commissioneer Halbert commented "Whatever this is about, someone needs to be held accountable." Duh, talk about understatement!

The CA also reports the following quote but there is no clear attribution to who said it: "The board has shown that it is serious about its employees fulfilling their obligations to the district and our children. If someone has done something inappropriate, I would expect the superintendent to deal with the disciplinary action expeditiously."

Clearly there are major problems and at the center of this there appears to be a cover-up, AGAIN, in all likelihood at the highest levels on the operations side of the school district. And the head of the operations side of the district appears to have been left to do the "internal audit!"

Anonymous said...

Internal audit. What a joke. No one will be held accountable, they'll be promoted.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they'll get Michael Goar to white wash it one more time.

Anonymous said...

Mr Goar has already white washed this and too many other things to still be employed by MCS.

Anonymous said...

It gets down to hiring practices. Is hiring based on a competitive resume or is it based on who you know?