Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Education

Hernando School District's 3rd search for a new CFO fails

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School District's top financial job has been vacant since the sudden resignation of chief financial officer Desiree Henegar nearly six months ago.

And it doesn't look like the position will be filled soon.

Heather Martin, the district's executive director of business services, told School Board members this week that the district's most recent attempt at filling the post — its third — failed to net a qualified candidate.

"We do not have a CFO at this point," Martin told board members, "and it hasn't been for a lack of trying."

Since January, the district has posted, advertised and interviewed for the position, she said.

During the first round, the search committee spent a great deal of time interviewing candidates who met the job description. It quickly became clear that those without school district or governmental experience "were really not even able to answer the basic questions," she said.

The committee decided not to recommend a candidate, so the process started again.

The second search landed John Wilkinson, the chief financial officer at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven.

Although Wilkinson was named to the position in April, he withdrew before he started because of a medical issue in his family.

As with the first search, the third ended when the committee decided not to recommend a candidate.

Why the difficulty?

It's probably not money, Martin said, noting that the district pays a salary comparable to other districts.

"I don't know that salary is necessarily the roadblock that we are seeing," she said. "(The CFO position) is a very specialized area. … We just found that none of the applicants we were looking at possessed enough experience to be able to do that."

Martin said they won't post the job again until new superintendent Lori Romano arrives next week "and we have a time to talk to her and explore some other options for the position."

In the meantime, the district's finances and 2013-14 budget preparations are being handled by other staffers. Board members on Tuesday praised their hard work — and even asked about pay raises for them to compensate them for the extra responsibilities.

There is no way to adjust the employees' pay, Martin said.

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