District treasurer interviews: 'No point,' says White
Olentangy board member walks out on session; response 'disappointing,' board president says
Olentangy school board member Adam White walked out of a special meeting called to interview prospective treasurer candidates last week.
White left the May 15 meeting before the start of the interviews, which were conducted in executive session.
He said he left to protest a search process he deems overly prescriptive and unnecessary.
In February, the district hired the Ohio School Boards Association to lead the search for a treasurer to replace Rebecca Jenkins, who resigned to join the New Albany Plain Local School District.
The association advertised the job opening, identified five candidates and lined up interviews with the school board, which were conducted last week.
The process for individual interviews also was designed by the association.
Board members were assigned prewritten questions to ask during each interview and were given space to rate the candidate's response on a printed script. The script also included a step-by-step process to close the interview, directing board members to ask if a candidate has additional questions "if time" and to thank them for coming.
Two interviews were scheduled for May 15; three were scheduled for May 16. White did not participate in either session.
"There's no point in going to interview someone if I'm going to be asking someone else's questions that they assigned to me," he said.
But board President Kevin O'Brien said the questions on the script were merely suggestions. White would have been free to ask follow-up questions, he said.
"We weren't trying to be prescriptive; we are just using them as a way to guide the discussion. He took it more literally than that," O'Brien said. "It's disappointing that we're trying to work with him and provide the tools to help him do his job and he kind of refuses to participate."
White added he thinks the search is altogether unnecessary. He has stated repeatedly that the district should forgo the process and hire former Assistant Treasurer Todd Johnson, who currently is filling the role of finance chief on an interim basis.
At a Feb. 25 meeting, the school board approved a contract with the Ohio School Boards Association to spend $6,400 plus expenses -- including reimbursement for travel and lodging logged during the search process -- to identify other viable candidates.
Other board members have said the search is necessary to determine if Johnson is the best fit. He was one of the candidates interviewed last week.
The other candidates are:
* Scott Gooding, director of financial services for the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio.
* Brian Kern, assistant treasurer for Dublin City Schools.
* Tony Swartz, treasurer of Groveport Madison Local Schools
* Jennifer Vanover, treasurer of Licking Heights Local Schools.
The list will be narrowed to two or three finalists, who will participate in a final round of interviews, O'Brien said.
A new treasurer will be hired during the first or second week of June, he said.