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Connecticut’s school construction program will be audited over the next month, officials say

Alan Levine

A top state official told Connecticut lawmakers on Monday that an outside firm will be hired to review the state’s troubled school construction program.

Michelle Gilman, the state’s acting Administrative Services Commissioner, said this is in response to the ongoing federal investigation of the program’s former director, Kosta Diamantis, who was fired last October. Diamantis is being investigated for allegedly pressuring school districts to use certain contractors for projects.

“The ethics training for our staff and then the reinforcing the policies of our state agency really come into play to remind our employees the steering of contracts the alleged practices that have been in the news are not acceptable and do meet ethics standards or the governors standards, quite honestly, in terms of contracting and procurement,” Gilman said.

Gilman said they want to have an outside firm in place this week to provide an audit of the Office of School Constructions Grants and Review by the end of April.

Democratic lawmakers said they’d wait for the findings of the audit. Republican lawmakers used the legislative informational forum to question the Lamont administration's handling of alleged corruption in the program.

State Representative Holly Cheeseman, a Republican of East Lyme, said she has little confidence in what she heard from administration officials.

“If I’m a taxpayer, if I'm someone watching from the outside, the idea that all of a sudden an audit is going to be done, is not exactly filling me with a great deal of confidence,” Cheeseman said.

Clare is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.