Board members frustrated by former CNC director's severance package - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Board members frustrated by former CNC director's severance package

Memphis City School Board Commissioners did not hold back their opinions upon finding out the school system gave James Jordan, the former director of the system's Central Nutrition Center, a severance package of nearly $9,000.

"The message that we're sending is just a slap on the hand," said Memphis City School Board Commissioner Stephanie Gatewood.

Jordan resigned October 11, 2007 after an internal audit found severe mismanagement of funds.


"As a board member, I didn't even want to keep reading it, and I had to," said Commissioner Jeff Warren.  "I didn't want to read it.  It's disgusting."

The audit claims Jordan's mismanagement of funds caused a food shortage that cost taxpayers $3.7 million.
While students went without juice and nutritious food, Jordan authorized a laundry list of unexplained purchases, including:

  • a $30,000 tab for decorations at an employee appreciation banquet
  • more than $83,000 in new furniture, replacing furniture that was four years old
  • 300 unapproved emergency food purchases.

The audit claims Jordan avoided school board approval numerous times by submitting two or even three purchase requests for a single job. The practice helped Jordan avoid a policy which requires the school board to vote on orders that cost over a certain amount.

"We need to send a very, very strong message so the next person that comes knows that the district is not playing and you cannot get away with this," Gatewood said.

Jordan was not available for comment Wednesday.

Memphis City Schools Chief Administrative Officer Michael Goar, who authorized Jordan's severance package, declined an on-camera interview, but said he thought the package would be cheaper than other alternatives.

Meanwhile Wednesday, District Attorney General Bill Gibbons sent a request to the Tennessee State Comptroller's Office asking for an audit of the Memphis City Schools catering and Central Nutrition Center programs.

Click here to send an email to Kontji Anthony.
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