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SALEM SCHOOLS Board narrows treasurer job duties

Friday, January 31, 2003

The change in job description has nothing to do with the former treasurer's handling of the job, an official said.
SALEM -- Whoever is hired as Salem schools next treasurer won't have as many duties as his or her predecessor.
The school board has decided to separate "business manager" from the list of duties typically done by the school treasurer, Superintendent Dr. David Brobeck said Tuesday.
Former Treasurer Ted Cougras held the joint title of treasurer and business manager.
Cougras resigned suddenly in December after the launching of a probe into the purchase of about $781 in office equipment that was delivered to his Poland home.
The decision to remove business manager from the treasurer's list of duties has nothing to do with Cougras' job performance, Brobeck said.
"It was too much for one person," he said of the joint responsibility, which Cougras was the first to hold. He was hired in September of 1997.
Business manager duties include overseeing ordering supplies for the school district.
Since Cougras' departure, another district administrator has been filling in as business manager. The district also has hired an interim treasurer and treasurer's assistant.
Investigations continue
Probes of the treasurer's office by the Columbiana County prosecutor's office and the state auditor's remain on-going.
The state auditor could finish its work by the end of next week, Brobeck said.
Also continuing to be investigated are allegations against Cougras' assistant treasurer, Annette Howard.
Howard remains on indefinite paid suspension pending the outcome of the probe. School officials have refused to elaborate on the allegations regarding her.
Howard was suspended Jan. 6.
Neither Cougras nor Howard have been charged with any crimes.
The school board is continuing its search for a new treasurer.
With a Monday deadline looming for applications, six people have submitted their names and personal information for consideration. Nine others have asked for applications.
Brobeck said he expects most of those people to apply for the job.
Ideally, the district will have about 25 candidates, Brobeck said.
It's possible the number of applicants could reach that level by or shortly after next week's deadline, he said.
"Most things show up in the last week," he said.
The school board will use Ken Cardinal and Associates of Kent, a school administration consulting firm, to help it select a treasurer from among the finalists for the job, Brobeck said.
The firm's fee has yet to be set.