Missing in Action 

You'll never know where your $1.5 billion went.

By now, most Clevelanders realize that they'll never know where their $1.5 billion for Cleveland school construction went. In a town accustomed to watching its tax dollars disappear like dollar Molsons at McCarthy's, this is hardly surprising.

What's worrisome is that the one man who theoretically knew where the money went has now left the school district. Paul Flesher, the facilities director who led the project, disappeared this month in the purge of top officials initiated by new schools chief Eugene Sanders.

Granted, Flesher wasn't exactly doing a spectacular job. At least three schools opened late and one ran millions over budget. But at least Flesher was a living, breathing, talking head. And he could probably operate a calculator. Now that he's gone, it's not clear whether his replacement will screw things up even more. (This is the school district, after all. It's known for its deep bench when it comes to incompetence.)

Sanders hired the new guy from Toledo, his home turf and source of most of his new hires. Gary Sautter was an assistant business manager who helped oversee Toledo's $821 million school construction project. Here's hoping he can handle a project nearly twice the size.


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