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Garrison named Ferry Schools treasurer

GARRISON

MARTINS FERRY — The Martins Ferry City School District has a full-time treasurer again, with the approval of Dana Garrison’s contract.

On Tuesday, Board Members Scott Ballint, Nick Stankovich, Bill Suto and Chuck Probst approved a five-year contract for Garrison, who had served as interim treasurer for the past year-and-a-half. School Board Member Brian McFarland was not present to vote.

Garrison took on the treasurer’s duties after former Treasurer Karen Blake was placed on paid administrative leave July 2018. In September 2019, Blake resigned, but according to her agreement with the district she will continue to draw her pay and benefits until Dec. 31, 2021. Blake had said she earns $115,000 a year, not including benefits.

Afterward, Blake said she began working as treasurer in 2011 and found improprieties in district operations. She also said there had been a lack of cooperation with her records requests during her time as treasurer and has notified state agencies.

Superintendent Jim Fogle later responded, saying Blake’s claims were baseless and the Martins Ferry Board of Education submitted the allegations to and requested a formal review of the district’s finances by the Ohio Auditor’s office for the year ending June 30, 2018. The results included only minor findings.

Garrison had worked as the treasurer for the Bridgeport Exempted Village School District and resigned last week.

“I’m looking forward to going on full-time here. … I’ll be starting the first of February,” she said.

During her time working for Martins Ferry schools, she assisted in arranging financing for ongoing roof replacement and slip repair projects.

“I would say those were the two big projects that happened over the last 18 months,” she said.

Garrison said her next step will be filling the full-time payroll position. The East Central Ohio Educational Service Center has been performing payroll operations.

“I will be arranging interviews to fill that position,” she said.

She said this year, the district will also enter into negotiations with the teachers’ and employees’ unions.

“We hope to do a multi-year agreement with each,” she said.

She has worked at the Bridgeport school district for four years. She had served as Buckeye Local School District’s treasurer for 14 years, then Shadyside Local School District.

“I began my treasurer’s career at the Belmont County Board of Education,” she said. “I have 25 years’ experience.”

Garrison’s base pay will be $105,000.

“Mrs. Garrison brings a wealth of knowledge and professionalism to the district,” Fogle said. “She’s a team player, and it’s been a privilege working with her thus far. … Things look pretty solid, and I feel really comfortable with Dana at the helm, taking care of those finances.”

In other matters, Fogle reported work is progressing on the roofing and slip repair projects, with completion of the $7 million roof replacement expected by Feb. 14.

Regarding the slips, all anchors have been installed in the east-wall slip, with earth to be placed over them soon. The anchors on the North wall should be installed by Monday. The $2.8 million project is being conducted by Hayward Baker, a construction and engineering company. One slip is situated behind the elementary school, and the other located behind the bus garage,

Also, the board approved a one-year contract with Andy Sutak for gas and oil consulting for a maximum of $6,000. Fogle said Sutak has worked in this capacity for past six months and charged about $1,200 to $1,400.

“He keeps us up-to-date on our gas and oil situation for the district,” Fogle said, mentioning land the district leases. “He’s brought us a lot of information. … He’s helped us file some appeals that ended up in our favor.”

“He’s been a big help,” Suto said.

In other matters, meeting will now be held at 5:30 p.m. the second Tuesday monthly at the district campus, Ayers Limestone Road.

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