The Brentwood school district will be audited by the state comptroller's office in the coming months following a complaint about the district's hiring practices by a state assemblyman, a state official said Thursday.
Thomas DiNapoli's office will conduct an audit over the next six to nine months with a "focus on policies and procedures related to internal controls at the District," according to a letter written by Ira McCracken, chief examiner for the division of local government and school accountability in the comptroller's office.
The letter, dated Aug. 19, was addressed to Levi McIntyre, superintendent of Brentwood schools, as well as the members of the board of education, and copied to Stacy O'Connor, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, and Kathy Hoey, the district clerk.
The decision to audit the district came after a complaint about hiring practices in the district that was lodged by Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Bay Shore), said Brian Butry, a spokesman for DiNapoli.
"What I explained to the comptroller's office was the climate of nepotism and that the community is really outraged," Ramos said in an interview. "The process is being corrupted to take care of family and friends at the expense of the taxpayers."
A request by Newsday to interview McIntyre and other school officials was not granted by late Thursday afternoon.
In an emailed statement through a spokesman, McIntyre said: "We appreciate Assemblyman Ramos' concerns. We are fully committed and looking forward to working with State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to ensure that public tax dollars are being used the best way possible to educate all of our students."
Ramos, in the interview, listed a number of issues he said need attention in the district, including "rigging" in the hiring process that he said favors acquaintances of administrators.
"The priority has gone away from the education of our children to an old-boy system," Ramos said.
Butry would not discuss the scope of the audit. He said the office will seek documents related to the district's finances and the school board's oversight.
An initial conference with state and district officials would start the auditing process, followed by records collections. When the state is done analyzing the district's records, the district will be given a chance to respond to a draft of the audit before the final report is compiled, estimated to be sometime in the spring, Butry said.