SALEM SCHOOLS Interviews for treasurer's post to begin

A suspended district employee is one of the applicants.
SALEM -- The city school board is set to begin interviewing candidates for the school treasurer's job.
The panel has set an executive session for Saturday morning to begin the interviewing process.
Schools Superintendent Dr. David Brobeck said Thursday that this weekend's meeting and a similar session next weekend may wrap up the initial round of interviews.
So far, 10 people have applied for the job. Brobeck said not all of them are qualified for the post.
Certificates required
State law requires that school treasurers have certificates for the post.
That means that applicants for the Salem job must either have a treasurer certificate already or be able to have one by the time they're ready to start work, Brobeck said.
To receive a certificate requires a college degree in a business-related field, an internship and advanced course work in school law, accounting and finance.
When certification is considered, the district has five qualified candidates for the job, Brobeck said.
The school board originally set a Feb. 3 deadline for applications. It has since relaxed that requirement and is still accepting them, Brobeck said.
Brobeck previously has said the district was hoping to have about 25 candidates to interview for the post.
He's attributed the lukewarm interest in the job partly to the struggling economy and the unwillingness of many jobholders to leave their current position.
Among the most recent applicants is Annette Howard, who serves as the district's assistant treasurer.
Howard has been on paid suspension from her job since Jan. 6.
School officials suspended Howard after saying, without elaborating, that allegations of misconduct had been lodged against her.
Officials also have said that investigators probing possible illegal activities in the treasurer's office suggested that she be suspended so she would have no impact on the probe.
No charges have been filed against Howard, who has refused to comment on the matter.
Howard's suspension followed the Dec. 16 resignation of her boss, treasurer Ted Cougras.
Cougras resigned after investigators began probing the purchase with school money of $781 in office equipment that was delivered to his Poland home.
Investigators from the state auditor's office and the Columbiana County prosecutor's office are still examining the purchase and other treasurer's office activities.
The state auditor's office is expected to complete its investigation soon then issue a report on its findings, Brobeck said.
County Prosecutor Robert Herron said earlier this week that his office already has collected most the evidence it needs and will examine the auditor's findings as part of its continuing probe.

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