Board grants more unpaid leave to treasurer
Lori Hudzik, the Niles City Schools treasurer who was placed on an “unrequested leave of absence” last July and subsequently went on family medical leave, has been placed on an “unpaid leave of absence” till November 18 by the board of education. The vote followed an executive session lasting more than two hours Thursday.
What happens after November 18? “We’ll have to wait and see,” said board President Mary Ann McMahon in response to 21 News' question. The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is November 21, three days after the unpaid leave expires.
The board cited a statute in the Ohio Revised Code that authorizes it to grant leaves of absence “upon the written request of a teacher or a regular nonteaching school employee.” The board’s resolution states that Hudzik requested the unpaid leave.
Hudzik had been placed on the first leave of absence July 1 after the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission strongly criticized her for failing to develop a financial forecast and reconcile banking records. The commission has overseen the district’s recovery since the state placed it in fiscal emergency last February.
Hudzik later declared under the Family Medical Leave Act that provides for up to 12 weeks of leave and continued medical benefits. A board source indicated the treasurer’s family leave expired around October 8. McMahon, citing privacy rights of public employees, declined to answer additional questions about the status of Hudzik, who was briefly a member of the board of education 15 years ago.
In a companion resolution, the board authorized McMahon as president to confer with other education agencies such as the Trumbull County Educational Service Center to find a candidate to serve as “interim treasurer.” Currently, Lori Simione, TCESC treasurer, has been treasurer pro tempore for Niles Schools, and her work was recently praised by one of the district’s state-appointed fiscal supervisors. McMahon said she expects Simione to continue in that capacity until the interim position can be filled.