Sunday, July 27, 2008

Memphis Schools catering unit out of control

Great investigative work by the Commercial Appeal.


An investigation of five years of records by The Commercial Appeal shows not just questionable spending but shoddy record-keeping, missing invoices, late payments, unexplained discounts and a history of problem employees. Records portray catering services as uncontrolled well before the tenure of James Jordan, who was forced to resign last year as nutrition services director amid allegations of gross mismanagement.

The newspaper found records in such shambles that it's impossible to see a clear picture of the unit's total operations -- and, significantly, its abuses.

Records show that board members and school employees have, for years, eaten haute cuisine on the hog.

"This catering boondoggle stinks worse than week-old cafeteria food," said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a Nashville-based free-market think tank. "And just like week-old cafeteria food, it's time to get rid of it."