UPDATE: Judge Jarbola accepted Sunday’s plea and sentenced him to three years of probation. Read Times-Tribune Education Reporter Sarah Hofius Hall’s story here and check back at thetimes-tribune.com for more updates.
The calendar says it’s Thursday, but today is all about Sunday. Former Scranton School District Chief Financial Officer and Clandestine Auto Repairs Specialist Gregg Sunday is scheduled to plead guilty before Lackawanna County Judge Andrew Jarbola today at 1:30 p.m.
The judge should reject the plea and send a message to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro: Charge this defendant with an offense worthy of his indefensible abuse of the public trust.
Sunday retired after The Times-Tribune and state investigators began asking questions he could not honestly answer without losing his job and likely his freedom. After 33 years in service to the district’s fiscal demise, Sunday saw the flood coming and ran for the hills.
He was arrested four months after a statewide grand jury charged former school district “fleet manager” Dan Sansky with seven felonies, including corrupt organizations, dealing in unlawful proceeds, criminal conspiracy and theft by deception.
Prosecutors — and the dogged reporting of this newspaper — say Sansky routinely overbilled the district and took taxpayer money for work on the personal vehicles of at least a dozen district employees or their family members, including Sunday.
Investigators say Sansky routinely worked on cars owned by Sunday and his wife and son. From March 2014 to November 2016, Sansky billed taxpayers $8,166.25 for repairs on Sunday family vehicles. Sansky serviced Sunday family cars 38 times, all on the public’s dime.
Sansky’s massive fraud would not have been possible without Sunday’s cooperation. State investigators say Sunday is cooperating with them now, which brings us to today.
Sunday is charged with conflict of interest, restricted activities — a felony I had never heard of until now. Imagine my shock to learn that it is the lone charge that won’t cost Sunday his $6,566-per-month state pension. That adds up to $78,792 annually for a felon who stole taxpayer money while they were paying him $123,860 a year to be a financial watchdog.
This galling payout would have been canceled if Sunday was charged theft by deception, theft by extortion, theft of services, forgery, tampering with records, bribery in official and political matters, perjury, tampering with public records and intimidation of witnesses.
Sunday ran district business for 33 years, and surely knows much investigators want to know. They didn’t give him this sweetheart deal for nothing. As much as I want Sunday to sing, I can’t swallow the reward he will reap at the expense of the very people he ripped off.
Jarbola should reject Sunday’s plea.
Shapiro should know better.