The Olentangy school board has made tentative plans to partner with a search firm to find a new treasurer.
At a meeting last Thursday, Jan. 31, board members agreed to pursue a contract with the Ohio School Boards Association to find a replacement for former Treasurer Rebecca Jenkins, who resigned this month to join the New Albany Plain Local School District.
The board did not vote or make any final decisions regarding the search process at the Jan. 31 meeting. Officials will work out terms for a contract proposal in the next two weeks and present them to the board for approval at its meeting Wednesday, Feb. 13.
School board President Kevin O'Brien said the board received comparable initial price quotes to head the search process from both the association and the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio: about $6,400 plus expenses.
Regardless, O'Brien said the association was the "clear choice," since the service center spearheaded the search that drew Jenkins away from Olentangy in the first place.
"I don't think it's appropriate to reward them," O'Brien said.
He said other options could be considered if satisfactory terms can't be reached with the school boards association, adding the search process itself typically takes about 31/2 months from start to finish
Board members also voted 5-0 to appoint Assistant Treasurer Todd Johnson to serve as the district's interim finance chief until a full-time replacement is found.
They agreed Johnson should be considered for the job.
Board member Adam White lobbied for the district to forgo a search altogether and simply appoint Johnson now.
He said benchmark goals could be established to evaluate Johnson after several months to determine if he is the right person to take the job on a permanent basis.
"We can go out and do a search, but Todd has been here for four years shadowing Becky (Jenkins). I don't think there's any need to reinvent the wheel outside right this second when we have someone who's eager right here."
O'Brien countered that it's vital to vet all potential candidates before making that decision.
"The fact that we're pursuing a process isn't a statement against Mr. Johnson's capabilities," O'Brien said. "It's evidence of the diligence we want to take in recognizing the importance of this position."
Johnson said he is interested in securing the job.
"I do plan to apply for the position," he said.
It's not the first time Johnson has pursued a promotion in the past year. In November, he was interviewed by New Albany schools to become its finance chief, before it chose Jenkins.
As interim treasurer, officially for the period of Feb. 4 through May 31, Johnson will receive a stipend of $2,500 per month in addition to his current salary of $89,127.60.
Jenkins submitted her resignation to the board Jan. 10. She left Sunday, Feb. 3, to become treasurer for the New Albany district, where she will earn $132,000 a year, compared to her prior salary of $119,100 at Olentangy this year.
Jenkins had served as Olentangy's treasurer since 2005.