Two weeks after giving Superintendent Rhonda Corr a new contract and a raise, Dayton’s school board made a similar move with its other top hire, giving Treasurer Hiwot Abraha a three-year contract through July 2020.
Both Corr and Abraha had originally been hired on rare, one-year deals last summer.
Abraha was DPS’ assistant treasurer from late 2011 until last summer, when she took over for her former boss, Craig Jones, whose contract was not renewed. She was a senior accountant in the district from 2008-11 and spent 14 years before that with the Auditor of State’s office. She holds an accounting degree from Central State.
The contract calls for a $130,000 salary (up from $120,000) and benefits such as a $15,000 per year annuity and the school district paying Abraha’s retirement contribution. It was approved by a 6-0 vote, with Sheila Taylor absent.
The new contract also includes a $5,000 bonus if DPS earns the Auditor of State Award with Distinction. That goes to government entities that file a comprehensive financial report and receive a clean audit with no findings for recovery, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies or other key issues. Corr’s new contract has multiple performance bonus options.
“I’m very happy with the fact that this board has implemented these unique contracts for our top officials and that we’re moving in the direction of incentivizing measurable performance,” school board member Adil Baguirov said. “Once again we’re showing great care with the public’s money.”
In the 2015-16 audit released last month, DPS got an unmodified (positive) opinion on its financial statements, but had a finding for recovery of improperly spent money – the district’s second such finding in three years under Jones and Abraha. Both Jones and Abraha have argued that some state citations were inaccurate.
Board members Ron Lee and Hazel Rountree applauded Abraha’s efforts, with Rountree singling out Abraha’s work ethic and offering the board’s help.
“I’m very grateful for your support and having confidence in me,” Abraha told the board. “I love to work for DPS and the community. I am mostly certain that we will get the award and succeed with our goals.”
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