Olentangy Valley News

Olentangy board split on vote to find new treasurer

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Olentangy school board approved a plan of action Monday, Feb. 25, to find a new district treasurer.

The board voted 3-2 to approve a contract with the Ohio School Boards Association, which will conduct the search.

The board will pay the association $6,400 plus expenses -- including reimbursement for travel and lodging logged during the search process -- to identify viable candidates, then hold two rounds of interviews before picking a treasurer.

Olentangy is seeking a replacement for former Treasurer Rebecca Jenkins, who resigned this month to join the New Albany Plain Local School District.

An exact timeline for the search hasn't been worked out; the contract states the board and OSBA representatives will meet to plan a search procedure and identify a timetable.

Board members Adam White and Dave King voted against the contract. King said the district should save money by opting for a shorter, less-detailed search.

"In my mind, we don't need anywhere near what's being presented," he said. "I would like to see it much more expedited and abbreviated."

White said the district should forgo a search altogether and hire former Assistant Treasurer Todd Johnson, who currently is filling the role of finance chief on an interim basis.

King agreed the board should strongly consider hiring Johnson, who has said he's interested in the position.

But board member Stacy Dunbar said she is wary of relying on succession without conducting a thorough search.

"I appreciate Todd's talents," she said. "We'll go through the interview process and if he's the right person, he'll be the person who comes through on the other end."

Board member Julie Wagner Feasel pointed out the board is in charge of hiring only two district employees: the superintendent and the treasurer. Johnson was hired to be assistant treasurer by district administrators and was never approved by the board initially.

The approved contract describes a search process similar to one detailed by OSBA Deputy Director Cheryl Ryan at the board's Feb. 13 meeting, at which she described a five- to six-week candidate recruitment process.

The school boards association will develop a candidate profile with the board, then place paid advertisements and reach out to 35 state school board associations to identify candidates, she said.

It also will help the board develop an interview process.

At the Feb. 13 meeting, King also asked if it's necessary to go through two rounds of interviews. Feasel said it might be.

"I was involved in the last superintendent search and it was clear we could not come to a consensus on the first round of interviews, so it depends on the candidates," she said.

Jenkins submitted her resignation to the board Jan. 10. She left Feb. 3 to become treasurer for New Albany schools, 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.

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