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Bridgeport treasurer resigns

T-L Photo/KIM NORTH BRIDGEPORT EXEMPTED Village School District Treasurer Dana Garrison will be leaving her post at the end of January. She submitted her resignation last week to the board of education which unanimously, but regretfully, voted to accept it. She has been with the district for four years.

BRIDGEPORT — The Bridgeport Exempted Village School District is looking for a new treasurer after Dana Garrison’s resignation was unanimously, but regretfully, accepted during a recent board of education meeting.

She has been with the district for four years and spent the previous 14 years at Buckeye Local in the same capacity.

“She has really guided me along since my arrival. It has been nice to have a treasurer with all of her experience. She’s kind and really passionate about the work she does,” said Superintendent Brent Ripley, who came to Bridgeport from Harrison City Schools during the summer after Zac Shutler tendered his resignation. “The district is in great financial shape, thanks mainly in part to her work.”

When asked what she will remember about her days at Bridgeport, Garrison had nothing but praise.

“The people. Bridgeport has a lot of good staff (members) that are easy to work with and are very cooperative,” she said. “They work as a team, and I think that is a huge benefit to the school district.”

During her time with the district, it accomplished several endeavors.

“We refinanced some bonds that saved the district a large sum of money. We built the exercise center.

“We worked a long time with FEMA when we had the flooding at the (football) field to see if they could relocate us. That was a long process only to find out they couldn’t,” she recalled. “We also built the concession stand for the girls’ softball field. We’ve had good negotiations between the two unions, so there’s been a lot of work done over the past four years.”

Garrison also worked in the same capacity for Martins Ferry City Schools for the past year-and-a-half after that district’s treasurer was placed on administrative leave. That individual, Karen Blake, has resigned as treasurer but remains on the district payroll as an assistant treasurer who is not required to report to work. She will retain that status until Dec. 31, 2021.

“It was a lot of work and it was very time-consuming,” Garrison admitted of working at both Bridgeport and Martins Ferry. “I did enjoy it, but it was a real challenge. I was able to keep up with both jobs, and I also had very capable assistants in Joanne (Kaczmarek) and Greg (Harkness) here and Logan Ballint at Martins Ferry and Sonya Morehead with the ESC filling in in Martins Ferry doing payroll.”

She said Bridgeport is in “very good” financial shape.

“According to the five-year forecast, the general fund balance is in the black all five years. There is some deficit spending basically due to the state foundation being frozen for the two-year budget period. We don’t know how that will look beyond that. So my estimates are based upon where it stands now,” she explained. “Hopefully, that will improve and help our situation going forward.”

As far as her future, she would say only: “I’m pursuing another opportunity and that is all I can say at this time.”

“I would like to thank the administrative staff here at Bridgeport, especially my staff in the treasurer’s office. I also feel the team at Bridgeport is an outstanding team to work with,” she added. “It also helps that the two unions have worked very cooperatively during negotiations and that makes them go very well. I appreciate all the hard work everyone has done to make the district better.”

Ripley said the district has already scheduled interviews for the coming week.

“We will be meeting in executive session next Wednesday to meet with these applicants,” he said. “Dana is here until the end of the month, so if we can find an applicant that fits Bridgeport and is going to be all-in for Bridgeport, I’m confident that we will come away with someone. If not, then we’ll go back to the drawing board.”

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