Schools Official Quits Amid City Hall Hirings

CLEVELAND (AP) - The chief operating officer of the mayor-controlled Cleveland public schools has quit amid the hiring of seven members of the lame-duck administration of Mayor Michael R. White (pictured, right).

The resignation of Michael Eugene came one week after Nicholas Jackson, a longtime ally of the mayor, went to work in a school job that Eugene said was similar to his.

Eugene said Jackson's hiring made clear that schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett "is heading in a new direction."

Eugene resigned once before, last December, but was persuaded to stay on through the end of the last school year. Byrd-Bennett said Thursday that she knew that Eugene would be leaving at some point.

Byrd-Bennett also said Jackson was not hired to replace Eugene. She said she planned to eliminate the position of chief operating officer through a restructuring.

The 77,000-student district, Ohio's largest, was placed under the mayor's control in 1998 following years of state control imposed by a federal judge upset by mismanagement and poor student performance.

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