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Penn Hills School District hires transportation director

| Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, 8:30 p.m.

Penn Hills School District's Board of Directors recently hired a full-time transportation supervisor, though not all board members were pleased with the process.

The board voted 7-1 to hire Allen Ayers at a salary of $50,000 per year.

While the board vote took place Aug. 26, the board agenda placed Ayers' start date at Aug. 16. Board member Heather Hoolahan, who voted against the hire, said she did so because of the way it was handled.

“At our (regular) board meeting (on Aug. 12), we asked about this position,” Hoolahan said. “On Thursday, (Aug. 15), we received an e-mail stating that they had a candidate, gave us his name, a few details about his background and the salary, and told us that they needed the board's direction.

“By Thursday afternoon, Mr. Washington was calling board members asking for permission to hire.

I didn't answer the call and there was no message. On Friday, I saw that Mr. Washington was in the district and saw him with someone I didn't recognize. I called him because I was told that he was with the new transportation supervisor. I was told that they had enough board members to move ahead, even though none of us knew what the others had said or that he was being offered the job that night and starting the next day, and that they brought him in when the district was closed to get acclimated. We were not told any of that until I questioned it.”

Hoolahan also objected to the lack of advertising for the position — the opening was advertised internally, but not in any local media outlets.

“This is a $50,000-a-year position, and I think it should have been advertised more widely,” she said.

The board also approved, by a 7-1 vote with Hoolahan dissenting, the creation of several new secretarial positions.

Superintendent Tom Washington was quick to point out that the positions are actually not new, but rather merged job titles created after administrative staff was cut during the budget process.

Furlough recalls

The board voted 7-1 in favor of recalling five professional employees who were furloughed earlier this summer during budget cuts. They include two special-education teachers, two elementary teachers and a math teacher.

Following the earlier recall of four teachers, nine of the 11 employees originally furloughed are back to work.

Hoolahan voted against the recall.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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