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Business manager Ruth Quinn Berdell leaves Wellesley schools

Posted by Evan Allen  March 13, 2012 02:50 PM

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Ruth Quinn Berdell, who went on leave from her job as the Wellesley school district's business manager after a critical audit of her office, has left the school system, according to Superintendent Bella Wong.

"Ms. Quinn Berdell’s employment with the Wellesley Public Schools has ended, effective March 13, 2012," Wong said in a statement. "The reason for the change of status is deemed a personnel matter and there will be no further public comment at this time."

Berdell's salary this fiscal year was set at $138,211, according to the superintendent's office.

Berdell went on voluntary paid administrative leave on Nov. 18, just a little more than a week after Wong announced her own resignation, citing "ongoing public concern over school operations protocols.” Wong's resignation takes effect at the end of the school year.

Last spring, it was discovered that the business office had failed to collect about $169,000 worth of school lunch debt. An audit triggered by the discovery and released in September showed a business office that operated with little outside oversight. It found a lack of “adequate monitoring or analytical procedures being applied to the management of the various revenue cycles of the schools.’’

Public backlash over the failure to collect the lunch debt was intense, with parents calling for Berdell's firing.

Berdell steadfastly refused to comment to reporters. Wong has said that the lapse was caused by faulty billing software that has since been replaced.

Since the debt was discovered, the district has whittled it down to $24,976.95.

Berdell was embroiled in another controversy when it came to light that she had saved up $86,000 worth of vacation pay over a 26-year career with the town. She was one of two employees allowed to accumulate vacation time year to year, and Wong has said that Berdell and the other employee, who has not been identified, were operating under an unwritten policy that the rest of the school staff was not on.

Berdell is collecting her vacation pay in over two years.

The other employee is receiving about $15,000.

Berdell could not be reached for comment today.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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