Reynoldsburg News

New hire to eventually fill Ron Strussion's job

Resident, board member question need, timing of filling administrative position

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The Reynoldsburg Board of Education approved the hiring of a new administrator last week but one school board member voted against the move and a resident questioned the timing.

Board members voted 4-1 at their Oct. 18 meeting to hire Cliff Hetzel as director of operations and personnel, starting Nov. 1

His total compensation package amounts to $145,350 per year; of that amount, he will be paid a base salary of $97,000.

They also approved the retirement of Ron Strussion, longtime district business manager, effective July 31, 2013, and agreed that Hetzel would take over as business manager after Strussion's retirement.

Board member Ryan Brzezinski voted against hiring Hetzel.

"No one is answering how we came up with the salary package here -- would he have come for less?" Brzezinski asked.

Superintendent Steve Dackin said the salary package was "fair market."

Resident Frank Beck said he thought bringing in Hetzel was unnecessary.

"I'm trying to figure out why this board is spending $97,000 they don't have to spend," he said. "I see no reason we need two people in the same job at the same pay rate."

Beck said board members should have waited to hire Hetzel until Strussion retired.

Dackin said the district had a vacancy in human resources, along with a transportation supervisor on medical leave.

"Mr. Hetzel will help to manage personnel and then transition to a business manager," Dackin said. "We have no plans to hire a personnel director. In fact, we hope to possibly share a personnel director with the city of Reynoldsburg."

Dackin said he and Mayor Brad McCloud have been discussing a plan to share one personnel director who would oversee both city and school district employees.

"I scrutinize every dollar in this district and won't spend money I don't have to," Dackin said.

Board President Andrew Swope said hiring Hetzel gave the board the opportunity to "kill two birds with one stone" and to help fill the voids that needed to be filled.

Hetzel was at the meeting and said he is "excited to be a part of Reynoldsburg schools."

"I have worked as a business manager for Worthington schools and Ron (Strussion) and I have known each other a long time," he said. "I believe in what a school community is all about and I want to get back to that. By the way, my salary at Worthington schools was $97,000.

"I hope I can bring value to the school district and help uncover savings for everyone," Hetzel said.

Hetzel worked for Worthington City Schools from 2000-2004. Before that, he worked for two years as director of business services for the Marysville school district. He has been working as a sales and client executive in the private sector since 2004.

In other business, school board members recognized National Merit Semfinalists Alexander Chomin, a senior from BELL Academy and Jimmie Harris, a senior at eSTEM Academy. Harris was also recognized as a National Achievement Semifinalist, along with Yasmine Hassan, a senior at eSTEM.

The National Achievement Program Outstanding Participants were also recognized: seniors Lynn Desamours of HS2 Academy and Callyn Samuel and Ciera Gooden, both from eSTEM.

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