WRAL Investigates

Granville school leaders tighten spending guidelines

Posted November 6, 2014 10:31 p.m. EST
Updated November 6, 2014 11:28 p.m. EST

— A day after a WRAL Investigates story unveiled questionable spending by a former Granville County Schools superintendent and other employees, school leaders on Thursday approved new procedures to tighten checks and balances for district spending during their regular school board meeting.

They also released an audit that detailed some of the questionable purchases, reimbursements and other financial problems within the school system.

Part of the audit focused on former Superintendent Tim Farley.

Records WRAL Investigates reviewed show he bought more than $6,000 worth of high-tech devices in a three-year period, including a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, Galaxy Note smart phone and smart watch, iPad, iPad Mini, multiple pairs of earbuds and headphones, including $169 JayBird BlueBuds and $106 Jabra Sport headphones, as well as numerous accessories for phones and tablets.

On trips, Farley often upgraded rental vehicles to convertible sports cars. Farley said the purchases were for the school district – and weren’t questioned by staff.

“In many instances, this was for the greater good, not just for my purpose,” he said during a recent interview.

School board members on Thursday approved guidelines outlining travel expenses covered by the district and the usage of district credit cards.

Limitations include:

  • Car rentals will only be reimbursed for the lowest car model
  • Staff members are encouraged to share rooms
  • Excessive tips will not be reimbursed
  • Valet parking is not reimbursable

Purchases will also require two approvals.

“I don’t think any of us are opposed to implementing these procedures,” board Chairwoman Brenda Dickerson-Daniel said.

Some residents believe Farley knew better regarding his spending habits.

“I continue to be amazed that the former superintendent claims to have done nothing wrong ... because nobody told him to stop?” said Oxford resident Jan Lee during the meeting. “Are you kidding me? This is a well-educated man with a doctorate.”

Oxford resident Rob Rivers questioned the timing of the audit.

"Yes, I'm concerned about the abuse of the credit cards, but let's look at the bigger picture," he said. "Mistakes were made across the board. Why go after a superintendent who's been gone for five months?"