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Published: Thursday, 9/29/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

TPS selects interim treasurer

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Toledo Board of Education appointed a temporary replacement Thursday night for the district’s treasurer, who a day earlier resigned.

Matthew J. Cleland, the director of the TPS office of budget and management, will serve as acting treasurer until the board finds a permanent replacement for Dan Romano, who stepped down Wednesday. The board appointed Mr. Cleland after meeting with several candidates for about two hours in closed session.

Board president Bob Vasquez said the treasurer’s position is too important to leave vacant, so the board decided to swiftly appoint an interim replacement.

“We are very confident that (Mr. Cleland) will do the job for us,” Mr. Vasquez said. “We have to continue the day-to-day business.”

Mr. Vasquez said the board did not appoint an interim replacement for Mr. Romano the day of his resignation, because board members were not positive they would accept the resignation until they met Wednesday.

Mr. Cleland has spent eight years with the district. He will be paid $91,339 in the interim post. He said he hasn’t decided yet if he would want to the treasurer’s spot permanently.

“I’ve taken this on in an effort to help the district,” Mr. Cleland said.

RELATED ARTICLE: Treasurer of Toledo schools resigns after complaints

Board president Bob Vasquez said district leaders hope to find a permanent replacement for Mr. Romano by January. The district will soon begin a formal search process, and the board is willing to look at internal and external candidates for the position.

The exit of Mr. Romano followed closed board meetings Wednesday night and last week that were held, in part, for the board to meet with its attorney over pending or imminent court action. Board members cited “differences in professional opinion” for its separation settlement with Mr. Romano, who served five years as treasurer. Those differences come with a price: Mr. Romano, who was still under contract until July 31, 2013, will receive more than $230,000 from the district in exchange for his resignation.

That settlement includes a negotiated sum of $116,5000, and his accrued sick and vacation pay, which is worth an additional $117,000. Mr. Romano’s gross pay in 2010 was $156,911.49, according to district records; he took a voluntary 4 percent pay cut in July.

While board members would not comment specifically on Mr. Romano Thursday night, concerns about the treasurer’s office have been expressed publicly and privately in recent weeks.

Hundreds of teachers have not received pay from work over the summer and they have pointed at Mr. Romano for failure to do so. The district has been late — in some cases significantly — in paying vendors. Board members have noted delays in utility payments at several schools. And board members raised concerns with how Mr. Romano has handled a bond refund.

TPS Superintendent Jerome Pecko said Wednesday that the delays and complications were not all the fault of one department, and that a district team is addressing the unpaid accounts.

The review of Mr. Romano’s personnel file showed no allegations of improper conduct. District officials said Mr. Romano did not have a separate disciplinary file.

Mr. Romano has been unavailable for comment.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086.



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