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Commission approves Niles board treasurer hire

Ex-Howland school official to be paid $90K first year, $80K next two years

NILES — The Niles Financial Planning and Supervision Commission by a 5-0 vote Thursday gave its needed approval to hire Rhonda Baldwin-Amorganos as the Niles City School District’s new treasurer.

Baldwin-Amorganos, who has served the past five years as treasurer in Howland, was granted a three-year contract in Niles with the first year’s salary at $90,000 and the second and third year salaries at $80,000 each.

Board of Education President Tony Perrone said Baldwin-Amorganos, who has 31 years as a treasurer, has indicated she would be retiring after the first year of the contract and agreed to come back as a retire / rehire at a lesser salary for the remaining two years.

Perrone said while Baldwin-Amorganos does not have to retire, the salary will still be $80,000 for the second and third years, which is a savings for Niles. The second year begins in 2021 and the third in 2022. He said the figures were agreed upon for the contract.

“We are excited to have her as our treasurer. The schools are in a great spot financially now. She wants to be here to help us,” Perrone said.

The Howland Board of Education also held a special meeting Thursday to accept the resignation of Baldwin-Amorganos, who texted the board president to say she officially was hired in Niles and the board could act on her resignation.

Howland will be working with the Trumbull County Educational Service Center to find a new treasurer, which will take a few weeks.

Fiscal Commission President Bob Foss said Niles will work with Howland schools on the transition,

“We want to make the transition as mutually beneficial to both districts as possible. We know things happened very quickly. We are thrilled to have an experienced treasurer here to help bring stability. The district is heading toward recovery and it is important to have a treasurer in place,” Foss said.

Baldwin-Amorganos said she is looking forward to being in Niles, although she has assisted interim Treasurer Craig Yaniglos for more than a month.

“I look forward to continuing what Craig has done. Niles will allow me to go to Howland for free to help them keep running,” she said.

Commission member Giovanni Merlo said the commission reviewed the terms of the contract to see how it would affect the fiscal recovery plan and spoke with the state auditor.

“It does fall within the fiscal recovery plan and is within the expenditure limits of the district. We have done our due diligence as a commission to make sure this happens,” Merlo said.

Commission member John Lavelle said the commission wanted to have an entire contract to review before voting on it. They tabled a vote Wednesday in order to do so, which prompted Thursday’s special meeting.

The Niles Board of Education also held a special meeting Thursday to approve the contract, which passed by a 4-1 vote. Board member Christopher Chieffo, who voted “no,” said he has nothing against Baldwin-Amorganos and believes she will do a “fantastic job,” but he had concerns with the final contract.

“There have been changes and revisions in this contract than what was previously discussed seven days ago. I was shocked when I saw the finalized contract after the terms that were negotiated. I do not want to have my name attached to a contract I do not have full authority over. This contract is somewhat different seven days later,” he said.

Baldwin-Amorganos said she attended some of her school years in Niles and lived in the community for a while. She began as a treasurer in Warren in 1989 and also has worked in Brookfield and Hubbard before going to Howland.

Former Niles treasurer Lori Hudzik had been on unpaid leave since last summer and was ordered by the commission to return to the job in December. When she failed to do so, the board unanimously accepted what is called a “voluntary resignation” by abandonment of position from Hudzik.

Yaniglos, treasurer in Brookfield, has assisted Niles for the past three months as an interim treasurer under a shared services agreement, but he is leaving Jan. 31 for a position as treasurer and chief financial officer with the Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District near Cleveland.

Baldwin-Amorganos also has been helping Niles schools in recent months and working with Yaniglos on financial matters. Niles previously entered into an agreement with Howland Local Schools to get additional assistance from Baldwin-Amorganos. That agreement also expires Jan. 31.

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