June 29, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Medina school board: Interim treasurer needed

MEDINA — Medina school officials said a school employee with a treasurer’s license will take over those duties for the school for the next few weeks while the board works to find a longer-term temporary replacement for Jim Hudson.

Hudson resigned his position as treasurer last month, and starts his new job as treasurer of Avon Schools today. School board President Karla Robinson said the board interviewed two candidates for an interim position Saturday, but said the board is still in the process of vetting.

Karla Robinson

At a school board meeting tonight, Robinson said the board will approve a 30-day contract for a current employee with a treasurer’s license who will handle the duties until an interim is selected. Robinson said it was crucial to have someone in the position this week, because the district can’t function without a person in the position.

“For our legal operations, to have our payroll signed off on, we must have someone designated as treasurer,” Robinson said. “We have a statutory obligation to have a treasurer … because they sign off on so many things.”

Robinson said the district worked with the Ohio Association of School Business Officials to locate people in Ohio with a treasurer’s license who are willing to accept an interim position. Robinson said at least one of the two candidates the board is considering came from that list.

“I’m not sure if both our candidates are on that list, but I know they both have active licenses and are not currently tapped for another title,” she said.

Saturday, the board met in executive session to interview the two candidates and to get other updates from attorneys on some pending legal maters.

The school district is facing legal battles on a few fronts. In April, the board voted to rescind Superintendent Randy Stepp’s contract and placed him on administrative leave while it investigated his spending of a “carryover account” kept at the Medina County Schools Educational Service Center. In May, Stepp filed a lawsuit against the district, charging breach of contract and defamation.

The board is countersuing Stepp in that claim. In July, a local attorney filed a taxpayer suit against the board in Medina County Common Pleas Court, asking the court to declare Stepp’s Jan. 7 contract invalid because the board violated open meetings laws.

A state audit of the district’s spending was released in October and showed $4,121 in findings for recovery against Stepp. On Oct. 24, the board began the process of firing Stepp. Last month, Stepp filed another suit against the state auditor and the school board, alleging that the audit was improperly conducted.

Robinson said Saturday’s meeting with an attorney was to give members updates on the cases.

The board will meet in regular session at 6:30 p.m. today at the Medina High School Distance Learning lab, 777 E. Union St.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.