At this month's Board of Education caucus meeting, the talk was all about new jobs and the descriptions that come with them.

Trustee Christopher Tisdale questioned a job promotion the Board is scheduled to vote on at Wednesday’s regular meeting. The action would elevate a current accountant to the newly created position of budget examiner, without any Board approval of the specific position or job description.

“The District should not be creating new positions without the Board’s approval,” said Tisdale.

He called for a motion to review and approve new positions and job descriptions before the administration recruits new employees. The motion failed by a narrow 3-3 margin, with one abstention and two trustees absent.

Tisdale expressed doubts about the creation of new positions at the discretion of the administration, without Board approval. According to Tisdale, the administration should be able to create these positions as needed, but they should be able to tell the Board the specific needs that the new position fills.

In this case, Tisdale asked about what specific needs this new position entails that Acting Business Administration Dr. Dennis Frohnapfel or his assistant business administrator cannot currently perform.

According to Frohnapfel, the budget examiner position was created to assist his office with managing the district’s billion-dollar budget. “They review budget transfers, they review budget accounts, they make appropriate transfers between different accounts. They also do some payroll work when I need it done, and also work in accounts payable,” he said.

Trustee Natalia Ioffe, in opposition to Tisdale’s motion, noted that new positions in the past have always come to the Board with a new employee attached to the role, just like in this case, for the sake of efficiency.

“I mean, if we start to nitpick into the job descriptions, what’s to say then that the majority of the board starts micromanaging the details within the job description?”

Superintendent Dr. Norma Fernandez described the approval of new positions as a business function of the district removed from the Board’s typical purview, saying, “This is a billion-dollar operation. It is not a classroom. It is not a school.”

Tisdale indicated that he will present the motion once again at Wednesday’s meeting with the full Board present.

On Wednesday, the Board will also be presented with and accept a financial audit and corrective action plan for the District from the 2022-23 school year.

Sabrina Harrold, one of two public commenters at the caucus meeting, said “I hope all the board trustees are reading this audit very closely because there are some issues and concerns that should be addressed.”

Ryan Kilkenny was born and raised in New York. He graduated with a BS from Tulane University and a JD from Rutgers Law School. Ryan worked as an attorney for almost two years before switching careers and...