The hiring process for the new position has been controversial among the school board members, with at least two members, Jocelyn Spencer Rhynard and Gabriela Pickett, publicly stating their opposition to the process and accusing other members of a lack of transparency.
On July 19, the DPS board voted to post the job and discuss the duties of the new business manager position with four yes votes, one no vote from Pickett and one abstention from Dion Sampson. Rhynard was absent from that July 19 meeting and an earlier meeting on July 13 where the board met in executive session to discuss the position.
Lawrence was a candidate for superintendent in 2016, but the school board hired former superintendent Rhonda Corr instead. Corr was placed on administrative leave in November 2017 and left in January 2018 with a separation agreement, after the board accused her of unprofessional behavior and falsifying documents. After she was placed on leave, then assistant superintendent Elizabeth Lolli was promoted to her current position.
At the July 13 meeting, Pickett accused members of the board of creating the position with a specific person in mind. Pickett didn’t name the person in her remarks, but in emails and texts between school board members and Lolli discussing the business manager position, Lawrence’s name was mentioned multiple times.