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Hartford Internal Audit Commission pushes for answers on COO placed on leave during investigation

HARTFORD – The Chief Operating Officer of Hartford Public Schools is still on leave pending the outcome in an investigation.

Ever since, Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez has been quiet on the matter and that has not been sitting well with other city leaders.

Sources close to the Board of Education said the investigation had to do with the misappropriation of computers and tablets intended for students. However, the Board of Ed and the superintendent have refused to comment on the exact cause of the investigation to the point where the Internal Audit Commission is now trying to get involved.

Last month, Dr. Jose Colon-Rivas was placed on leave. FOX 61 has learned a third party contractor has been performing an inventory audit on city school computers.

Similar audits happened in 2013 and 2015 and most recently, February of this year.

FOX 61 asked Hartford Public Schools about their computer policy and a spokesperson said anything valued at more than 500 dollars needs to be tagged and logged.

On March 1, 2019, the chairman of the Board of Ed released a letter and said they are not afraid of being audited, but feel the district needs to conduct its own internal investigation.

FOX 61 spoke with Bruce Rubenstein of Hartford’s Internal Audit Commission. He said he has been pushing for answers about this internal investigation since the end of February and has only gotten radio silence.

“We have emailed the superintendent three or four times and she has not answered our emails at all... we've invited her to our meeting, which would entertain questions by the commissioners on two issues - one, pertaining to the Jose Colon. To date, apparently she is too good to return an answer via email or any other way,” said Rubenstein.

Hartford Schools has previously refused further comment because it is a personnel matter.

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