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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
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September 1, 2006     Cape Gazette
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September 1, 2006
 

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Cape Continued from page 1 Henlopen High School on Aug. 30. "In the next few weeks we will be critically examining each position and how it is funded. To ensure that Cape always remains fiscally sound, we may make some tough recommendations for future staffing," he said. "We have a balanced budget right now, and if we want a bal- anced budget next year it will take pain to get there," said school board President Gary Wray, echo- ing Stone's position. Wray said he expects a bal- anced budget and that 80 percent of the district's budget is in per- sonnel. "We have to go back to zero-based budgeting and we have to look at and justify every position in this school district," he said. "We are facing a danger zone later in the budget year if we don't keep our eye on the budget, make sure to live within our budget and not overspend," said board member Allan Redden. "I don't want to go out for an oper- ating-expense tax increase now," he said. In the aftermath of two success- ful referendums, the board and Seibert have repeatedly assured voters that taxes will not be fur- ther increased. Too much spending? Stone blames state and federal funding cuts for the possible budget shortfall: $150,000 in fed- eral tax dollars; a $250,000 state tax giveback; a $280,000 loss in state programs; and a $100,000 loss for charter school attendance. However, these cuts were antici- pated or in effect long before the Aug. 24 meeting. Stone identified two unantici- pated areas of lost funding: a state-mandated 4 percent salary increase enacted by the legislature two months ago; and a slowdown in land development and home sales. But Wray's call for a zero-based budget and statements made by board members indicate the prob- lem may be simple: too much spending. Hiring one person at a higher salary resulted in raises for other employees, one board mem- ber said. "If you decide to buy every- thing you want to buy, it can lead to trouble," said Redden. "This is a new financial land- scape for Cape Henlopen," Stone said. "We're used to having enough dollars to do what we want to and we can't anymore. We have to do things differently, now. Anything locally funded has to be looked at," he said. "No group will be exempt from examina- CAPE GAZETTE. Friday, September 1 - Monday, September 4, 2006 - 19 tion." Stone said that final figures and updated budget information will be presented at the next school board meeting. Personnel or budget? The board of education is cur- rently involved in a lawsuit that charges it with not making infor- mation public when it should have. Stone said that the board is very aware of the issue of disclo- sure. Stone and Wray said that budg- etary matters are supposed to be public, while personnel matters are appropriately conducted "behind closed doors," in execu- tive sessions. But every budgetary shortfall could result in possible elimina- tion of an employee or an employ- ment position. Wray said that if something touches on personnel it becomes a proper subject for secret executive session. Stone said that the matter heard on Aug. 24 was properly addressed in executive session because "the original crux of the matter to be discussed regarded the employment of two people." Stone said he agreed, however, that the mere fact that a budgetary shortfall could result in elimina- tion of employment positions, such as cadre positions or the ter- mination of certain employees, does not permit the school board to cloak budgetary matters in executive session secrecy. Green Valley Pavillion employee pleads guilty Attorney General Carl C. Danberg announced that Robin M. Daniels pleaded guilty, Aug. 28, to one count of felony health care fraud and one count of second-degree conspiracy for her involvement in a fraudulent billing scheme at a Smyrna-area nursing home known as Green Valley Pavilion. The guilty pleas were entered in Kent County Superior Court before Judge Robert B. Young. Daniels, who was arrested in June, admitted that she committed'fraud by engaging in a pattern of conduct that caused false bills to be submit- ted to the Delaware Medicaid program. Daniels also admitted that she conspired to commit fraud with five former Green Valley Pavilion nurs- es: Mary J. Casper of Newark, Sandra L. Edwards of Lewes, Denise M. Rhinehart formerly of Felton, Mary L.Yarrington of Magnolia, and Jann B. Cox of Milton. Daniels faces a maximum sentence of 15 years incarceration on the charge of health care fraud, and two years incarceration for the conspir- acy charge. However, as part of her plea agreement, Daniels agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation into the allegedly unlawful conduct at the nursing home. If Daniels fully cooperates with the terms of her sentencing agreement, the prosecution will recommend that she receive probation. Edwards and Cox previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges in Superior Court and have separately agreed to cooperate with the inves- tigation and prosecution of the remaining defendants. Yarrington and Casper are expected to be formally charged within the next 30 to 60 days. Special investigators Allen Ruth and Dan Daly of the Delaware Medicaid Fraud Control Unit led the investigation. Anyone with further information related to the case should contact Chief Investigator John Miller at 302-577-8938. WIN a 2006 Road King Custom Harley Davidson Motorcycle! Tickets $100 EaclI---ONLY 350 tickets will be sold. Tickets on sale NOW at the Fat Tuna Grill in Millville and Beebe Medical Foundation in Lewes. Proceeds from Bike Sales will be donated to Beebe Medical Foundation for Beebe's new South Coastal Health Campus in Clarksville! Drawing and Pig Roast at Fat Tuna Grill Saturday00 September 16 at noon! Beebe Medical Foundation 902 Savannah Road Lewes, DE 19958 302.644-2900 Fat Tuna Grill 319 Atlantic Avenue Millville, DE 19967 302.541-8200