The audit is very matter-of-fact about the stipends Sisney gave. It says that the cash payments were solely at the discretion of the superintendent, and that there was no oversight by anyone else or approval from the board. The recommendation was made to require approval. Simple enough.
The large amounts of the stipends, along with the fact that very few people were given them, gives a strong impression of favoritism. The fact that some of the names are at the top of the Sisney supporter list in this controversy suggests that these stipends were given not just for doing a good job, but to build loyalty to the guy who stealthily handed them out, in case he someday needed their support in things like backing his story of corruption to the auditor, assisting with PR, and organizing supporters to picket and post online.
Directly from page 69 of the audit, here are the amounts of the stipends for the three years:
No conscientious superintendent would want the freedom to reward any employee any amount at his discretion. The risk of looking unprofessional is too high; handing out money should always be done in an above-board manner to protect all parties. Any competent administrator knows this.
Like the secret Windstream contract of 2007, this was done behind the school board’s back. The Windstream contract led to an indictment for Conspiracy Against a School District. What about the stipends, the unauthorized purchase orders, the other unapproved contracts Sisney entered into on behalf of the district? Would those be considered conspiracy against a school board? What about blocking the school board from conducting District business? Refusing to speak to board members except through an attorney? Directing school board members to publicly denounce actions of other school board members? Slandering a vendor to the point that they withdrew their services from the District, against the board’s wishes? Directing staff to prepare confidential payroll information to be leaked to the media as a smear tactic? Using school resources to badmouth board members to all staff and threaten the District’s law firm? Feeding misinformation to the local press to discredit board members and innocent citizens, and build a false narrative in the public’s mind? What will it take to get a full investigation of what really happened while Sisney was in a position of authority at Broken Arrow Schools?
I wonder if he ever gave himself stipends.