Audit offers scathing assessment of nutrition center operation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Audit offers scathing assessment of nutrition center operation

A draft copy of an audit of the Memphis City Schools Central Nutrition Center reveals shocking details about the state's largest food service program.

According to the audit, James Jordan was hired as director of the CNC in July of 2006.  Since then, the Center has lost more than $3.5 million.  The Center prepares 115,000 meals a year for city school students.

School board commissioner Kenneth Whalum Jr. was shocked at the findings.

"It smacks of impropriety all over the place," he said Friday.

The audit suggests Jordan bought exorbitant amounts of supplies and equipment without using the district's purchase order system, which requires approval.

This year, the CNC over-ordered 243 tons of food that spoiled, a mistake the cost the center more than $500,000.

Jordan also spent more than $83,000 on new furniture, even though the CNC was already fully furnished.

Whalum said he did not understand how it was all overlooked.

"There are two people, according to our organizational chart, with whom the buck should have stopped," he said.
Whalum referred to former superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson, and Chief Operating Officer Michael Goar, who announced earlier this week he would be joining Johnson to work in Boston.

"Somebody at the Central Office had to know about these things," Whalum said. "Somebody had to notice some of the irregularities, and they should have been caught."

Jordan resigned his position at the Central Nutrition Center on October 11.

In a statement about the CNC, Memphis City Schools Interim Superintendent Dan Ward said, "There is no doubt that order and focus have already been restored."


"We provided a preliminary report of the district-led investigation of the Central Nutrition Center to our Board of Commissioners this week. The district's audit has revealed a number of errors in management of the CNC over the last year, but there is no doubt that order and focus have already been restored. We will continue to follow the recommendations of the district's audit team and allow the experience of the newly selected leader to take swing.  We will get the job done and make sure our students and the entire community are served properly."

Superintendent Dan Ward
Memphis City Schools

* Note: Memphis City Schools will release its audit of the CNC upon completion.

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