State audit questions payment to Hammond teachers union president

2012-08-14T23:00:00Z State audit questions payment to Hammond teachers union presidentCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

The Indiana State Board of Accounts released a report questioning the School City of Hammond's payment to the Hammond Teachers Federation's president.

Patrick O'Rourke, 70, has been president of the Hammond teachers union since 1969 and is paid $73,412 annually. He does not teach. He works 230 days as opposed to the usual 185 days teachers work.

Calls to O'Rourke, Hammond Superintendent Walter Watkins and School Board President Deborah White for comment were not returned Tuesday.

O'Rourke was formerly a teacher but over the course of time, and according to Section 5.5 of the Master Contract between the Hammond Teachers Federation and the School City of Hammond, O'Rourke was paid by the school system, not through union dues. His pay was equal to his daily rate of pay by his placement on the teacher salary multiplied by 230.

However, according to the State Board of Accounts audit, the records maintained by the school corporation were not clear about which duties O'Rourke performed for the school corporation and which were performed for the teacher's federation. The audit stated he was not performing teaching duties.

The audit said O'Rourke did not have an office in the administration building nor at any school-owned facility. A time sheet was filed on his behalf by an employee of the human resources department at the school corporation, the audit states.

The audit said Indiana law states, "A person employed by a governmental entity who, knowing that the person has not been assigned any duties to perform for the entity, accepts property from the entity commits ghost employment, a Class D felony." The report also said the attorney general may bring a civil action.

The audit report, released Thursday, covered the period of July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2012.

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