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February 14, 2013

HVAC bill surprises Clarksville school board

Work done to GRC performed without approval

CLARKSVILLE — An unexpected bill for unauthorized repairs to a building Clarksville Community Schools sold at the end of last year caught the board and administration off guard at Tuesday’s meeting.

Kim Knott, superintendent, said a former employee violated a purchasing policy to repair the boiler and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at George Rogers Clark Elementary School. 

The district sold the building to Safe Harbour Community Church for $189,000 in November 2012 with a discount because the systems needed repair. Knott said a bill for $8,445 was invoiced to the district for work performed before the sale was finalized.

“There are only two individuals that can do purchasing,” Knott said after the meeting. “One is the superintendent and the other is the treasurer or business manager. This purchase did not go through those individuals nor did it get approved by one of those individuals. We issue a purchase order number and send those out to the vendors.”

She said she never saw the bill, which was invoiced on Nov. 30, 2012. She said if she had, she would have scrutinized it, especially with the pending sale.

“I would have questioned it, given the status of negotiations of where we were in selling that building,” Knott said. “Most likely, what I know now about this work, I probably would have said that was part of the discounted price we gave the buyer. Hindsight’s 20/20, but it would have been questioned thoroughly.” 

She said the district is stuck with the bill, even though they’re taking a double hit by offering the discount and making the repairs.

At the meeting, board president Bill Wilson expressed his displeasure of having to pay the bill, and Knott echoed his sentiments.

“I am as frustrated as you are with this issue,” Knott said. “We have 175 employees. For four years, 174 of them have been excellent employees.”

Knott said the vendor who performed the work, Comfort Systems, has been notified not to perform any work without an authorized purchase order from the district.

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