The Village of Ravena, that is, Nancy Warner, has hired an Albany accounting consulting firm, SaxBST, to provide Quickbooks training to Ravena Clerk-Treasurer Annette Demitraszek paying the consultant doing the training, Lynda P. Smith, $175.00/hour and the other consultant, a SaxBST partner, Willard G. Reynolds, $310.00/hour. Question is: Why isn’t the village of Ravena using some of the less expensive training available? Question is: Why does the village of Ravena have to spend $18,000 for the first year fee to have SaxBST train Demitraszek when someone already with the knowledge should have been hired? Question is: Why hasn’t Nancy Warner, who claims to have 30 years in Ravena village hall training her so-called clerk-treasurers? Question is: If Nancy Warner is so damned concerned about “wasting taxpayer dollars” why is she hiring SaxBST at the rate of $300.00/hour?
Why is Ravena Paying $310.00/hour or $18,000 a Year to Provide Private Lessons for the Clerk-Treasurer?
Nancy Warner, the Ravena village trustee, who is so concerned about wasting taxpayer money when responding to residents’ requests or problems, despite her gung-ho support of the money pit Ravena Health and Fitness Center that devoured more than $200,000 of taxpayer money, while paying fitness-center virus Cathy Deluca more than $60,000 of that money to run yet another fitness center into oblivion, has done it again!
We have received paperwork that shows that Nancy Warner has contracted an outside consultant firm to train her two sockpuppets, Annette Demitraszek and Kristine Biernacki, how to use Quickbooks accounting software. That’s all well and good but here’s where it gets to be a scandal:
Nancy Warner and her cronies on the Ravena village board headed by Ravena mayor Bill “Mouse” Misuraca, Joel Coye, Keith Mahler and Bill Bailey, are spending what looks like $18,000 at a rate of $300.00/hour to the consultant firm to train the gals on site at the Ravena Village Hall.
We’re not only questioning the wisdom and the logic behind spending that kind of money on consultant fees, we’ve got an even better question for Nancy Warner: If you’ve been on board at Ravena village hall for more than 30 years, earlier as village clerk and then as village trustee, this “training” should have been done way back then. What this means is that until now, village accounting and bookkeeping was not being done correctly (the Comptroller’s audits have already pointed this fact out on several occasions). Why is it that village staff are being trained now and at such great cost to taxpayers? Accounting practices and laws don’t change over night; if the state does change practices and laws for villages and towns, they send out bulletins and advisories announcing the pending changes. Where was Ravena village administration when all of this was happening, Nancy? Bill Bailey? Were you asleep on watch? Wasn’t this your responsibility, Nancy Warner?
Now, we know you’re just dying to know where the money for this irresponsible and insane spending spree is coming from, so we’d like to tell you.
The firm providing the training is the Albany accounting, taxation, and advisory firm, SaxBST, located on Computer Drive. They don’t necessarily provide “training” but are providing their services as consultants (consultants are astronomically more expensive than mere “trainers”). One of the partners, Willard J. Reynolds, who is providing “services” bills at the rate of $310.00/hour. The other “trainer”, Lynda P. Smith, who isn’t even listed on the SaxBST site, bills at a rate of $170.00/hour.
According to the papers we have received, per a document stamped “Received” by the “Town Clerk” on April 24, 2015, the Village of Ravena was billed $5,550.00 on November 30, 2014 for a meeting with “the mayor, 2 board members, Annette.” That invoice shows the proposed first year fee of $18,000 (less the $5,550 billed, leaving a balance of $12,450). The village of Ravena was billed $2,867.00 on December 31, 2014 for “meetings with Annette” and “in-office discussions and research” by Smith (15 hours) and Reynolds (3/4 of an hour). The balance of the first year fee on December 31, 2014 was $9,583.00. We can’t seem to locate the line item for these expenses in the 2015-16 Ravena Village Budget, so where’s the balance supposed to coming from?
Back to where the money was coming from to pay this extravagance. The SaxBST invoice for $5550.00 was vouchered and processed for payment on or around December 15, 2014. The SaxBST invoice for $2867.00 was received by the Village of Ravena on January 12, 2006, and approved for payment.
So where is the village of Ravena, Nancy Warner, finding the cash to pay for all of this. Well, we didn’t have to look far. All we had to do is look on the payment vouchers and then at the line items in the Village of Ravena budget, and match them up. You see, Nancy Warner and the village of Ravena board are tapping several other accounts to get their hands on the money. For example, to pay the $5550.00 they used $3885.00 from line item A1320.426 (Auditor-Contractual Services), $832.00 from line item F1320.426 (Auditor-Contractual Services), and $832.00 from line item G1320.426 (Auditor-Contractual Services). To pay the $2867.00 they used $2006.90 from line item A1320.426 (Auditor-Contractual Services), $430.00 from line item F1320.426 (Auditor-Contractual Services), and $430.00 from line item G1320.426 (Auditor-Contractual Services). They just barely made it in the 2014-15 budget but it doesn’t appear that they will in the 2015-16 budget because two of the line items: F1320.426 (Auditor-Contractual Services) and G1320.426 (Auditor-Contractual Services) don’t appear in that budget. So our question is: Where are they going to get the balance of more than $9,000 to cover the outstanding balance for the year’s SaxBST fees?
Click on this link to download the actual documents we are referring to: FOILed Ravena Vouchers
Now get this: Nancy Warner is the contact person shown on the correspondence from SaxBST. Annette Demitraszek, the assistant clerk-treasurer, a Bruno appointee and a Misuraca re-appointee, official Nancy-Warner-sockpuppet, is the village employee, the “authorized official” who is certifying and approving the expenditure. Now isn’t that delicious: Nancy Warner, who is so concerned about wasting taxpayer dollars, is having her cronies privately trained on site, on village time by consultants billing at the rate of $175/h and $310/hour!!! And guess who is certifying and approving the payment of the fat invoices? None other than the very person receiving the training and benefits: Annette Demitraszek, village of Ravena clerk-treasurer! Anybody smell a rat yet?
So we did a little research on Quickbooks training. You can get a 2-day mastery course for $499.00 and do it on line with Intuit, who has trained more than 2 million government and business clients and for $999.99 you can become a Quickbooks VIP member and enjoy extended benefits . We won’t go into the benefits of these programs but will mention that local community colleges have ongoing courses for Quickbooks in their continuing education programs. Why didn’t the dumbasses in Ravena village hall consider any of these options? Because it’s easier to sit on their fat asses in village hall and spend Ravena taxpayer’s dollars. That’s why.
Better still, buy the Quickbooks for Dummies — if Demitrazek and the Ravena village board can qualify as dumbasses, they’ll ace the dummies course —, available from Amazon or Barnes&Noble for the outrageous price of $20.00. Now why didn’t Nancy Warner think of that?
We’d also like to speculate that there’s something in this wild spending to benefit someone in village hall. Why would Ravena’s elected officials be so irresponsible and expose themselves to such scandalous ridicule if they weren’t getting something big in return. What’s in it for Nancy Warner, we’d like to ask? It just wouldn’t make sense being so irresponsible so openly if they weren’t getting something considerable in return. Kickbacks? Favors? We do know that Annette Demitraszek is walking away with knowledge obtained in private lessons by some pretty pricey tutors, and she’s doing it on your tab. It’ll look good on her résumé when she goes job hunting when Ravena taxpayers demand she be fired, and Nancy Warner’s brought up on charges.
Now don’t you think you should be attending village of Ravena village board meetings and asking some questions about how your money is being spent?