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New Penn Hills School District business manager is CPA, tax attorney

Samson X Horne
| Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, 7:45 p.m.
Penn Hills School District Business Manager David Roussos when he was hired in 2016.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Tribune-Review
Penn Hills School District Business Manager David Roussos when he was hired in 2016.

The financially struggling Penn Hills School District selected a certified public accountant with a law degree on Wednesday as its new business manager.

The school board approved the hire of David Roussos, the director of financial services at the Trinity Area School District in Washington, by a 7-1 vote.

Board Member Erin Vecchio dissented. Board Vice President Jennifer Burgess-Johnson was absent.

Roussos, 59, of Crafton will receive an annual salary of $107,500. His start date is Dec. 1, and his contract will run until June 30, 2021.

Roussos, a CPA, lists on his resume a law degree from Pitt, extensive tax and auditing experience and background in restructuring debt services, renegotiating contracts and a tenure as a tax attorney for U.S. Steel.

“We all understand the financial challenges,” he said. “I came in with the belief that this is a good board and good administration that is keen on resolution and continuing the work of providing the best education possible for the students.”

Roussos said his strategy is to support the administration by “managing, prioritzing and being responsible” with the district's available resources

He served on the Carlynton School Board for 12 years, a majority of that time as president.

“(Roussos) knows what it's like to be on the other side of the table,” said Penn Hills Superintendent Nancy Hines.

Roussos replaces Business Manager Robert Geletko of Brookline, who leaves Nov. 25 to take a similar job at the Connellsville Area School District.

A pool of more than 20 applicants was whittled to five in October, and two were called for Oct. 21 interviews.

Hines said that administrators, business officers and school board members “sat-in” on interviews and had input on the decision.

“Sometimes it's not just about the resume. (The new hire has) to have the right fit,” she said.

Geletko was under contract with Penn Hills through June 30, 2018. His salary this year was $97,850. Penn Hills hired him last October to replace Richard Liberto, the district's business manager from 2008 until he was fired last year.

An audit by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale revealed that the Penn Hills school system has been struggling with more than $170 million in debt related in part to borrowing $135 million in 2010 to finance school construction and renovations.

The audit prompted Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.'s office to investigate, and Hines said it will be releasing findings “soon.”

Samson X Horne is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review.

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