State Commission isn't ready to approve a new district treasurer

By danny restivo


Liberty school board is ready to bring on a new district treasurer, but the state-appointed commission needs more time before giving its OK.

The board of education met with the state-appointed financial- oversight commission Monday night to discuss options for a recovery plan.

The meeting was the first between the two bodies since the district was placed in fiscal emergency in 2011.

One of the more heated agenda items came when a shared-services agreement went before the five-member commission.

The school board accepted Rhonda Baldwin- Amorganos, Hubbard treasurer, as the Liberty treasurer, before turning to the oversight commission for approval.

Paul Marshall, oversight commission chairman, said the commission could not approve a financial contract without prior notification.

“No one communicated to us that we were approving a contract,” Marshall said.

Board members cited a need for a treasurer after James Wilson stepped down Nov. 30. Diane M. DeVito, board member, said the district had no other licensed treasurer to operate the school’s finances, and the commission was creating a roadblock.

The board approved Baldwin-Amorganos’ contract, which stipulates Hubbard will pay $45,029 for her employment, while Liberty will pay $24,246, until July 31.

Though the board OK’d the contract, the oversight commission, however, said it would defer making a decision until a Jan. 23 meeting.

The commission then fielded questions from the board about the recovery process, including a time frame.

“I’ve seen districts recover in as little as 11/2 years or up to 13 years,” Marshall said. “Right now, it looks like its going to take this district a few years.”

Marshall said the school district would get a better idea of what needed to be cut after a staffing analysis is released in January.

He maintained that the commission understood the challenges the district was facing.

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