Getting a Head Start
Just another fraud, peopled with the professional grifters who gravitate to these public sector jobs. News that CCT’s former director, Paul Puzzi, was under investigation because in 2005 he exchanged his $300,000 per year salary as head of the place to a $100,000 no-show job, stirred my curiosity so I’ve been digging around the Internet to see who these people are and what they’re up to. Nothing good, that’s for sure, and they’re stealing $80 million per year while doing it.
Here’s a 2005 report (the year Puzzo “retired”. Coincidence?) from federal auditors:
The objective of our audit was to determine whether Community Renewal Team Inc.’s (CRT) compensation and related expenses for five key executives and teachers were reasonable and consistent with Federal requirements and guidelines. We found that the teacher’s compensation level was both reasonable and consistent with Federal requirements. However, CRT did not complete a wage comparability study to support its executive compensation. In this regard, three out of the five key executives exceeded the average rate of compensation paid to the Chief Executive Officers of Head Start agencies in Connecticut. In addition, CRT did not provide written evidence that its Board of Directors followed established procedures in approving the CEO’s compensation level. Further, CRT did not maintain adequate documentation to show that $177,867 in travel, restaurant, and other credit card charges incurred by four of the executives and charged to an indirect expense account complied with Federal requirements.
And from the full report:
[T]otal compensation paid to three of the five key executives exceeded the average rate of compensation paid to the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of Head Start agencies in Connecticut by $562,728 from 2000 to 2002. When compared to similar positions at a nonprofit community action program in New England, which on average, received 47 percent more in revenues each year, the net amount paid to the five CRT executives exceeded their counterparts by $457,809.
Did these folks live high off the hog? You bet they did.
CRT inappropriately claimed $177,867 of $269,562 in the following charges when claiming indirect costs for Federal reimbursement from FY 2000 through FY 2002.
• $36,341 in travel related charges that exceeded the Federal per diem rates. ;
• $61,000 in travel related charges not adequately documented;
• $48,244 in local restaurant charges;
• $25,555 in unusual or inadequately documented charges; and
• $6,727 in exclusive club memberships.
Note that all this theft occurred in just two years, 2000-2002. And do note that the amounts cited are only the amount deemed “excessive” by the auditors – no mention is made of how much they looted up to those federal guidelines but one can assume it was much, much more – these guys just got greedy.
Also note that this audit only covered two years of the scheme. Twelve years have passed since then with no visible changes. Puzzo did retire, true, but received $100,000 per year under the guise of working when he fact he’d moved to Florida. Fernando Bettancourt was CRT’s Chairman then and remains so today, so no changes at the top. Has CRT’s funding been cut? Jobs eliminated? Not on your life – the way government works, salaries and staff have doubtless ballooned.
Never mind, by the way, that CRT’s running perhaps the most worthless welfare program of them all, Head Start. Head Start has consistently been shown to be useless in every study that’s ever looked at it. It serves merely as a conduit for crooks to award their inner-city cronies high-paid babysitting jobs and teaches nothing (the average Head Start graduate knows two more letters of the alphabet than a kid who never attended). Forget that – everything about this program and the people looting it stinks. Repeat fifty-one times (D.C. runs the same scam too) and you have a representative slice of how welfare works in this country.