NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The North Providence School Committee voted Wednesday to accept the resignation of Superintendent Bridget Morisseau, amid a scandal involving the potential misuse of a school department credit card.
At the meeting, the committee announced the town auditor has been hired to review Morisseau’s expenditures, as well as those of former Finance Director John McNamee, who left the district this summer. Morisseau was not in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting. She did not return our call for comment.
“If this resignation didn’t come forward tonight, there definitely would have been a termination,” North Providence Mayor Charlie Lombardi said.
Lombardi said Morisseau was placed on administration leave last week due to allegations she used a school department credit card to buy “personal items.” The mayor would not elaborate on what those items were. He said the auditor will be looking into how much money was misused.
“Some are saying it’s $8,000, $10,000, could be as high as $12,000,” he said. “We’re not sure.”
The mayor said the questionable purchases date back to November, but he and School Committee Chairman Anthony Marciano said they were not informed of the situation until a few weeks ago.
They said it was McNamee who brought it to their attention before he left the district. Lombardi said a town auditor will also be looking at McNamee’s expenditures since last November.
The North Providence Police Department told Eyewitness News the town has not brought the matter to them for an investigation. Lombardi said the town auditor will look into the expenditures before the matter is brought to police.
The school committee appointed Robert O’Brien as interim superintendent, as it begins the search for a permanent superintendent. Marciano said there is no timeline for the process of hiring a permanent replacement. He said they are focused on finding “the right person.”
“I know that I spent 15 years as superintendent in Smithfield and trust is the number one thing,” O’Brien said Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, the committee appointed Dina Dutremble as the new finance director. Dutremble starts on Aug. 13.
The school committee chairman said a special meeting will be held next week as the audit begins.
Lombardi said all credit cards used in the district were canceled on Monday.