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The Toledo Board of Education has made its interim treasurer permanent.
The board Tuesday approved a two-year contract for Matthew Cleland, who took over the top financial position in Toledo Public Schools in September after former treasurer Dan Romano resigned.
Mr. Cleland, who previously was director of the TPS office of budget and management, said he didn't take the interim position to become the permanent treasurer, but that changed over the last few months.
"The more I did it, the more I owned it," he said, "and I've really, really been enjoying the work, and I am very excited about the potential and possibilities."
Board members voted unanimously to approve Mr. Cleland, and later spoke highly of his work, but their hands were in part forced. The board had to decide by March 1 whether to renew Mr. Cleland's contract; any delay would have left the district without a treasurer.
Still, board President Lisa Sobecki said the board has been pleased with Mr. Cleland's work.
A concern of board members at the end of Mr. Romano's tenure was that many bills for vendors and utilities were delinquent, some severely -- a key issue surrounding his departure. Ms. Sobecki said many of those accounts are now in good standing.
"Our bills have gotten paid, and in a better, [more] efficient, and [more] timely manner than they have in the past," she said.
Mr. Cleland credited the treasurer's staff for those improvements. Ms. Sobecki said the treasurer's relationships with both his staff and employees under Superintendent Jerome Pecko have also improved since Mr. Cleland has taken the helm.
Mr. Romano resigned after repeated rifts with the board over what members said were unpaid or late bills, and other conflicts.
Mr. Cleland's contract runs through July 31, 2014. He'll be paid $130,500 a year; Mr. Romano was paid $125,000, plus $10,000 in longevity pay, though he took a voluntary 4 percent pay cut in July. Mr. Cleland is eligible for merit increases based on his performance evaluations, though his contract does not guarantee that increase.
Mr. Cleland's contract does not include a provision that was in that of his predecessor, a stipulation that provided Mr. Romano a lump sum of the lesser of his salary for a year or the remainder of his contract if he was terminated for "unsatisfactory performance."