Politics is local and we can have the most impact on our school boards

Your superintendent is the highest paid, most powerful public official in the municipality. Do you know his name?

Elected board members, although well intentioned are easily led by their paid employees; teachers & administrators.

Do you know what they're all doing? Well here in New Jersey they represent at least 60% of your property tax bill and budgets grow at an astounding compound rate each year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Do Something Puzio, Use Your Investigative Skills

The RTBOE Facilities Committee Chairman, Frank Giarratano presented a solar project estimate of $210,000, which was a lease purchase with five annual payments of $42,000. Although the estimate wasn’t documented the discussion was noted on page 2 of the September 7, 2010 minutes. On November 3, Business administrator James Verbist spoke of a $3.5 million estimate. Two weeks later solar sales representative, Frank Moore estimated $2.6 million.

At full retail, a Sunforce 39326 260 Watt Solar Kit with Sharp Modules costs $1084.91. If an installation cost of 1.5 times material cost is added, the total installed cost per panel would be $2,712.27. Therefore, the RT school district could purchase and install 500 panels for $1.356,137. To be on the safe side, I’ll even add an error factor of $200,000 making my back of an envelope estimate $1,556,137for 500 installed panels.

Obviously the project Giarratano envisioned on September 7 is far different than the Verbist or Moore plan; there’s between $2.26 and $3.25 million difference. If you accept my calculation, someone should explain the extra $1.1 million dollar in Moore's latest guesstimate.

We’ve heard from Frank Giarratano, the public relations professional on the board but board member Mike Puzio has expertise in instigative science, which I’m sure includes forensic accounting. Let’s hear from him. Puzio likes to question my commentary, why can’t he serve the community by asking where our money is going?

Come on Puzio, do something besides seconding motions to open and adjourn meetings


  1. I found your comments a little disjointed since your opening sentence is frothed with total inaccuracies. If they are getting for argument sake between 2.5 and 3.0 million dollar project for 5 yearly payments of $42,000 per year then they are finacial wizzards. I took the liberty to call the school office and to verify your figures because $42,000 was too good to be true to me. They were quite cute in their response I will say that. They let you off the hook by stating you may have tranposed your figures as the yearly payments were about $650,000.I don't see how you got $42,000 out of $650,000 but they did you solid by covering your major mistake.Since I have been getting your blog via the PTA email list I have truly become a follower but for the wrong reason. I find your mistakes and misguided comments very humerous. You come off as a credible guy in person most of the time but when you go to your blogging mode you are prone to misdirection of the dangerous kind. You need to check you facts first before you shoot off your blog. If I didn't find your first sentence so screwed up I would have accepted your premises in the later part of the blog as factual.do yourself and the rest of the community a favor. Get it right before you tweet. I think you have some value to the community as a leader if you could figure out how to lead from the real facts and not from fairy tale land. If you are not sure call the school office like I did and get the right answer. If you think they are wrong provide real facts to refute their response not conjecture and partial truths.

  2. Bertram, The $42,000 number was provided by Frank Giarratano in conjunction with a volunteer from the public. Verbist did not reflect the report in the minutes. His note taking is quite selective.

    If you attended the 11/17 meeting, you might remember James attempting to deny the $3.5 million estimate until I made him aware that his estimate was recorded. Apparently, you’re new to BOE operations.

    As for my numbers, I support everything I write. My calculations are explained in detail and my analysis of board numbers is supported by public record. Like I said, you must be new to this stuff

    If you happen to have a calculator divide 210000 by 5 and you should get 42000. Those are Giarratano’s numbers, not mine.

    Might I suggest that you go to meetings, take your own notes and draw your own conclusions before accepting either Verbist or my numbers.

    At one solar presentation, Giarratano reported a $70,000 benefit accruing to the district in year 1. At the next meeting, there was a denial that the benefit ever existed…until a PTA member reminded the board of the prior presentation. Then Verbist changed his tune saying the $70,000 was included in his numbers. Verbist is either a liar or incompetent buffoon.