News and Tribune

Business/Money

March 21, 2012

Greater Clark County Schools CFO fired

Galovic spoke before final vote

JEFFERSONVILLE — His name was not mentioned and he was not discussed, but the board voted to terminate his employment, 5-2.

Thomas Galovic, the chief financial officer for Greater Clark County Schools, was fired by a majority of the district’s board of trustees Tuesday night, with board members Becca Christensen and Nancy Kraft voting against the measure. His termination is effective March 30.

Galovic was one of two people signed up to give public comment on agenda items. In a prepared speech, he said he felt he was treated unjustly by the school board.“I have had no evaluation in 20 months, no due process given in this case, no progressive discipline taken ...” Galovic said in his speech. “When approached again about why I was going to be terminated I was told ‘because the board wants you out and they will come after you without my recommendation or with it.’”

He went on to say that he was never made aware of any violation of state law, board policy or code of the state board of accounts.

After Christensen motioned to vote on the certified and classified personnel reports separately, the board voted unanimously to accept the certified employee report. There was no discussion on the classified employee report before a vote was taken.

Martin Bell, chief operating officer for the district said the board can only discuss specific employees on those reports in executive session. They can’t have public discussion about those employees without violating state codes.

But in a letter from superintendent Stephen Daeschner to Galovic — dated Feb. 6, 2012 — Daeschner outlines some of the circumstances that led to his recommendation that Galovic be terminated.

“The biggest concern that surfaced during this investigation and during our meeting is the fact that you fail to understand the significance of the loss of trust and faith that your peers and Board Members have in your ability to continue to serve Greater Clark in a top management position,” according to the letter. “You offered nothing to help re-establish the trust or repair the damage done.”

According to the letter, some of Galovic’s behavior, including initiating conversations with members of the media about his lack of faith in the board resulted in that loss of trust, but also says some disparaging comments about cabinet members to board members also resulted in feelings of distrust against him.

But his letter also said that as an at-will employee of the district, board policy does not require any further due process once the superintendent makes a recommendation.

After the meeting, Mark Pavey, vice president of the board, said concerns were communicated to some of the board members before Galovic’s investigation was launched in January. He said he and the others who approached Daeschner about the investigation — board secretary Kevin Satterly and board president Christina Gilkey — were doing what they needed to do.

“I don’t know that it was board policy violations or not,” Pavey said. “But there was cause of concern from multiple sources about several topics and we felt like, as elected officials, that we needed to get that investigated.”

But the letter also alludes to an event at Parkview Middle School that “should not have originated” with Galovic.

In documents obtained by the News and Tribune, Satterly, Gilkey and Pavey met with Daeschner on Dec. 23, 2011 to ask about a payment to a former board member that came from a donation. The payment was rendered through the school’s extra curricular account.

The money was returned after “very little” services were rendered.

Galovic declined to comment after the board approved his termination. He has an attorney representing him, but has not indicated whether legal action would be taken against the board or the district.

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