LORAIN, Ohio (WOIO) - The 900 employees of Lorain City Schools may not receive their future paychecks because of a legal battle between the CEO and the Board of Education.
19 News obtained the letter Lorain City Schools CEO David Hardy Jr. sent to the district on Monday regarding the pending litigation so that the employees would not be “caught by surprise.”
In that letter, Hardy stated the “Lorain City Schools Board of Education filed a lawsuit against the district just over a week ago, which which included a restraining order to limit my ability to interact, or otherwise collaborate on decision-making, with the district’s treasurer.”
The restraining order stems from a contract dispute between Lorain and South Euclid-Lyndhurt schools.
The lawsuit states Josh Hill submitted his resignation as treasurer to Lorain so he could become the treasurer for South Euclid-Lyndhurst schools.
Hardy accepted the resignation, but the lawsuit states that the school board has not.
The restraining order the Board of Education filed against Hardy prevents the CEO from allowing Hill to officially resign.
However, Hardy claims the lawsuit also creates prevents him from filling the crucial position, considering he accepted the resignation:
“In light of the board’s restraining order, I have been bound by the courts and, therefore, I have no ability to address his departure or to identify, hire and place a new treasurer in the now vacant position. Without a district treasurer, a public school district does not possess the authority to sign off on purchase orders, contracts for future school-related events, and most importantly pay our nearly 900 employees who rely on their paycheck every two weeks, on time, without concern...If the school board does not dismiss this case, we will not be able to fulfill our fiscal duty to the community and continue to pay our employees on time. Hours have been spent trying to find a way to resolve this issue, however, I continue to face the same roadblock—a restraining order that limits my ability to pay you because of the school board’s actions...”
Hardy claims he has and will continue to work with the Ohio Department of Education as well as “other local and statewide organizations to assist us in avoiding this potential crisis.”
Lorain Education Association Union President Jay Pickering gave 19 News the following statement regarding his opinion on the debacle:
“I think this is another example of how bad House Bill 70 is, and how little preparation went into writing it because failed to address the issue of what to do with the treasurer and how to treat the treasurer. It’s a pretty important position in the district. It’s kinda sad that the CEO would make the employees the pawns of this lawsuit by threatening to take away their pay.”
In the letter, Hardy stated that he will continue to provide the district with updates.
A Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at 2600 Ashland Avenue.