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House Cleaning In The St. Joseph School District Complete

Sam Zeff

It's taken six months since a report from theMissouri State Auditorseverely criticized the St. Joseph, Missouri School District and three of its top administrators, but Thursday the district finally pushed out its scandal-tainted former HR director.

The district says it reached a severance deal with Doug Flowers. It will pay Flowers $32,000 to leave the district.

He was demoted from his HR post in February after the auditor took him to task for sloppy record keeping, poor tracking of overtime pay and having lax nepotism rules. His wife, Tammy, runs the district's preschool programs and was given a controversial raise and promotion last year.

Flowers was a principal before taking over the HR office in 2006. He and his wife have been interviewed numerous times by the FBI as the federal investigation into the district continues.

Flowers is the last of the four district officials who've been at the center of the ongoing scandals to be forced out.

Right after the audit report was released in February the board fired Superintendent Fred Czerwonka and COO Rick Hartigan. Czerwonka has since taken a job in the tiny Caruthersville School Districtin the Missouri bootheel. Hartigan is apparently still looking for work.

The board also forced out one of its own. Dan Colgan was a former superintendent and school board president. It wasrecently revealedthat he secretly steered tens of thousands of dollars into his final contracts as superintendent to boost his state pension by more than 8 percent.

The district's woes are far from over. In addition to the FBI investigation, the IRS will be in district headquartersnext week conducting an audit. The IRS was supposed to start its audit earlier this month but delayed it when the district said it was having trouble pulling together all the needed documents.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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