CEO trims Youngstown school board’s powers
By Denise Dick
Three months into his tenure as the city schools CEO, Krish Mohip is flexing his managerial muscle.
“As the CEO, I have complete operational, managerial and instructional control,” he said at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. “But I didn’t come in and immediately change operations or policy, as I wanted to get to know the district. I feel, however, now that the time is right to begin some more substantial change.”
Since his late June arrival as chief executive officer, Mohip has attended school board meetings – two regular and one special workshop per month. Board members earn $125 per meeting.
Tuesday, he informed them that he was limiting their power even more. He’ll limit board meetings to once per month.
Board members’ votes were only recommendations. Mohip had ultimate decision authority.
“At each meeting of the board, the treasurer and the [chief academic officer] will make a report and recommendation to me, as CEO,” Mohip announced at Tuesday’s regular school board meeting. “I will then act upon what is presented before me.”
The board may have an “opportunity to advise me on certain issues as I deem appropriate, but only when I specifically ask for input,” he said.
The change didn’t sit well with board members who learned about the change at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Out of respect, he could have told me as board president” before making the announcement, said Brenda Kimble, board president.
Mohip said after the meeting that he understood Kimble’s rationale, but he doesn’t believe it’s an issue upon which he needed to confer with her.
Kimble questioned whether House Bill 70, the law that created a reconfigured academic distress commission that selected a CEO, gives Mohip the authority to dictate when the board can meet.
At the beginning of this year, the board set its meeting schedule, she said. Kimble doesn’t believe Mohip can change that.
He may have to wait until next year to enact that change, she said.
“There are some things H.B. 70 does not call for,” Kimble said. “I’m not willing to sacrifice those things.”
Mohip said he believes this is the time to make substantial change. Last week, he submitted to the academic commission the first draft of his strategic plan to improve district academics.
“Going forward, I may decide to delegate specific responsibilities to the board, but I haven’t done that yet,” Mohip said. “If I do want to delegate tasks, I only will do so formally and in writing.”
After the meeting, Dario Hunter, board member, said Mohip’s announcement is a departure from the way in which the CEO has worked with the board since Mohip’s arrival.
The next board meeting will be in a month, the CEO said.
“I will work to formalize this new board process, and I will issue a board meeting policy now that I have set this out verbally,” Mohip said. “Again, now that I have been here 90 days, I will begin to make more structural and managerial changes going forward, making our processes clear that I, as CEO, am governing the district in all areas.”