Two Dayton school board members upset that board pushed through new job

Board vice president cites transparency concerns; Pickett suggests position was created with person already in mind

The vice president of the Dayton school board criticized her fellow board members on Tuesday after the board voted at a previous session to add a business manager position that would report to the school board.

Jocelyn Spencer Rhynard said she was disappointed in the way the job posting was pushed through and how the board did not seek public input in the decision.

“How was holding these discussions in any way open and encouraging involvement in the decision-making process by the public?” Rhynard asked during her remarks.

On July 19, the board voted to post the job and discuss the duties of the manager with four yes votes, one no vote from Gabriela 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.

Pickett did not publicly make any statements July 19 about why she voted no. But at a July 13 meeting, she said she disagreed with the way the meeting was called and criticized the lack of transparency. She accused other board members of creating the position to fill it with with a specific person in mind.

“But the actions that we take, even if they are with good intentions, we need to be clear so that we don’t run the risk of favoring one’s friends when seeking employment in the district,” Pickett said. “And if we were to do that, we will deeply affect the trust given to us when we were elected to serve the people.”

Rhynard noted DPS has been accused of administrative bloat and asked why the district was adding another position, when a similar position, under chief of operations, already existed.

She added that much of the discussion of adding a business manager position was held in executive session, which is not open to the public, and she said the board may have violated public meetings laws in doing so.

“When faced with such a question, it was crystal clear to me that the board should have acted with extreme caution and behaved differently,” Rhynard said.

DPS board President Will Smith said the position would oversee transportation and the Welcome Stadium project. A job posting on the DPS website says the business manager would also oversee nutrition services and procurement.

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