School trustee owed district

Though some criticized San Bruno Park School District trustee William “Skip” Henderson after word came that he owed the district more than $8,000 in medical payments, he maintains it is different from similar news revealed recently that Christopher Kiely also had a hefty bill for such payments.

A clerical error in the district office caught Friday showed Henderson, a 28-year board trustee, owed the district $8,166 in back payments for the district’s medical plan. The district, which had originally mixed up his file with that of a former employee also named William Henderson, thought his bills were up to date until the error was caught, Henderson said.

The debt, which went back to January 2004, was paid in full last week, Henderson said.

Kiely, who was both criticized and supported among district officials after word escaped that he owed the district $10,587 in medical benefit payments, bickered with Henderson at the board’s last meeting for making the issue public.

A payment plan to allow Kiely to incrementally repay his debt is expected to come up for board review this week, Superintendent David Hutt said. There were “shortcomings” in the district’s accounting and documentation system that allowed the matter to fall through the cracks, Hutt said. To ensure that a similar situation does not arise in the future, Hutt said the district will provide each board member with a regular statement of their fiscal standing.

Some, including trustee Russ Hanley, charged that whoever blew the whistle on the debt Kiely had accrued was doing so for political reasons, underscoring the tense relationship and infighting some board members have had for years.

Kiely is up for re-election in November, along with trustee Kevin Martinez.

Kiely publicly came down on Henderson for what he deemed to be a hypocritical oversight, but Henderson said the difference is that he did not know he owed the district thousands, while Kiely did the entire time.

“You try and do the right thing and you can’t win,” Henderson said. “Nobody’s at fault here; it was just one of those goofy mistakes.”

tramroop@examiner.com

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