West G Treasurer Resigns, Board to Start Treasurer Search
“I’ve been blessed with the best staff on the planet.” - Michele Tullai
After five years with West Geauga Schools, Treasurer Michele Tullai will be leaving her post next year.
Tullai, who submitted her letter of resignation to board President Bill Beers last week, said she would retire effective Feb. 1, 2014. Board members accepted her resignation during a special meeting Wednesday night.
“I’ve been blessed with the best staff on the planet and am thankful to be finishing my career here while working with Superintendent Geoff Palmer,” Tullai said.
“He has been a wonderful addition to the district. Additionally, there are many great teaching and non-teaching staff whom I will miss as well.”
The next step is for the school board to find a new treasurer. After an hour of discussion, they ultimately settled on a Dec. 6 deadline for submittal of potential treasurer applications, Beers said.
“With regret, we accept this resignation,” he said, as the board thanked her for her service. “Our audits have passed with flying colors.”
Beers said he recently attended an Ohio School Boards Association convention in Columbus and found out information about the treasurer selection process. He reached out to Geauga County Educational Service Center Superintendent Matt Galemmo for advice as well as Chardon Schools Board of Education President Karen Blankenship.
Beers said he asked Blankenship about the possibility of shared treasurers, as Chardon does with the treasurer of South Euclid-Lyndhurst Schools. However, Blankenship told him her district was not interested at this time.
Board member Sally Gillmore said, in the past, the district received 15 applications for the treasurer position in 2004 and seven in 2008, right before it hired Tullai.
“Right now, the pool of treasurer candidates is small,” Gillmore said.
Board member Mike Kilroy suggested the board look at contacting nearby districts, such as Newbury Schools, to see if anyone wanted to share a treasurer.
After Kilroy spoke, Tullai said she would notify her contacts of the job opening.
Tullai said she would use state-based lists from the Ohio Association of School Business Administrators. Those who belong to the OASBA are treasurers and business managers, Gillmore added.
Tullai then explained the Ohio School Boards Association — separate from the OASBA — could conduct a treasurer search for a given fee.
Timing is a consideration, as an overlap would be preferred. That way, the new treasurer would be able to become familiar with the system before Tullai retires, Kilroy said.
“In our district, about 13 years ago, we had to go through several interim treasurers before the new one was selected,” Beers said. “There were disruptions in continuity with the books, and those had be straightened out.”
If the district decides to hire a current treasurer from an another district, per state law, the treasurer must give 30 days notice to his or her current district before leaving for a new district.
Another snafu is the holiday season and school breaks, further prompting West Geauga to move the application date up even further, said Palmer.
By moving the application date up to Dec. 6, it gives the district a few weeks to conduct interviews before the holiday break. Also, if the new treasurer is subsequently hired, he or she will have some weeks in January to get acclimated to the district before Tullai retires, he added.
Kilroy asked if the new school board members slated to replace Beers and Gillmore in January — Tom Phelps and Dan Thoreson, who were in attendance — could be allowed to sit in on the interview process, despite not having final say in hiring. Beers said he would be fine with that, adding it would not be disruptive.
Board member Jackie Dottore asked whether or not the interview process could be moved toward the springtime. However, Palmer told her springtime would be used for negotiations with both the certified and classified staff unions.
Said Beers, “Let’s see what’s available.”
The board then decided to put the notice out for potential applicants by the end of the workday Nov. 15, at the latest, on both a mailing list and the Applitrack job posting website application.
In the public comment section, resident Anita Zurcher thanked Beers and Gillmore for their service and congratulated their successors, Phelps and Thoreson.
The board also held a moment of silence for Tracey Buccilli, the superintendent’s administrative assistant. Buccilli passed away Nov. 9.
“She had worked for West Geauga Schools for 17 years and was a respected member of the staff,” Tullai said. “She will be missed tremendously.”
For more information about the application process, contact the district at 440-729-5900 or visit www.westg.org.
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