Youngstown district still looking for a treasurer

By Denise Dick


The city school board didn’t succeed at first in finding a new treasurer, so it continues to try, try again.

Richard Atkinson, school-board president, said the board plans to advertise for the position again. It will be the third time the job has been posted.

“A treasurer is very important to a district,” he said.

The former treasurer, William Johnson, announced in late 2011 his plans to retire at the end of the 2011-12 school year. The district advertised to fill the post, and by April, it had a list of four finalists. The Academic Distress Commission last May, however, without explanation placed the treasurer on paid administrative leave through the remainder of his contract, which expired in July 2012.

The panel also directed the school district to re-advertise for the job, effectively disregarding the four finalists.

The treasurer from the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center was appointed interim treasurer and worked in the district through the summer. Assistant treasurers continue to run the office, and the commission has appointed a fiscal monitor to work in the district a few days per week.

Last August, the school board, with help from a search firm, had narrowed to three another set of finalists. One of those candidates also had been on the previous finalist list.

Atkinson said the board couldn’t afford the pay and benefits package requested by the one finalist. He declined to discuss the other two.

The job postings haven’t specified a salary, but Johnson earned about $84,000 annually.

Though the board president believes the office is being handled well by the assistant treasurers, he believes it’s important to find someone to do the job on a permanent basis.

He expects the school board to discuss at its next meeting where and how to advertise the job.

The board will reach out to a retired-school- treasurers organization to see if it has advice or knows of someone interested in the job, Atkinson said.

“We’re going to the open it up as wide as we can to make sure we get the best candidate,” he said.

David Varda, executive director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials, said interim treasurers can take care of paying bills on time, but without a permanent treasurer, a district may lack financial leadership.

“It’s more of that ‘strategic thinking’ ... there’s a lot more pressure on the superintendent and the board, I would assume,” he said.

Superintendent Connie Hathorn said he’s been working with the academic commission-appointed fiscal monitor to keep abreast of district finances.

“I have a good idea of what the financial forecast looks like now, and I’m making the necessary adjustments,” he said.

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