When Craig Yaniglos took over as treasurer of Brookfield Local School District on Feb. 1, 2017, he had ringing in his ears a mentor’s words – know where every penny being spent is going.
When he started looking into how the district was spending its money, he found bills for phone services that dated from previous buildings, software packages that weren’t being used and consortiums the district was no longer participating in.
“I kind of came in like a tornado,” he said.
It will now be up to the Brookfield Board of Education to find someone else who will keep that tight a fist on the district’s dollars – Yaniglos is leaving.
“I was devastated about it,” Brookfield Board President Ronda Bonekovic said of Yaniglos leaving. “Craig was a phenomenal treasurer. I don’t think we would have gotten out of fiscal emergency without Craig.”
Brookfield was in fiscal emergency when Yaniglos was hired, and the state auditor’s office released the school district in April 2018.
The timing of Yaniglos announcing his departure is odd in that Brookfield and Niles approved a shared-services agreement last month in which he would be treasurer for both districts.
Yaniglos said he got a call a couple of weeks ago from the search firm representing the Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District, and was encouraged to apply.
“I didn’t know the job had been posted,” he said. “Nor was I necessarily looking.”
The more he learned about the district, though, the more attractive the job became.
“They’re pretty much at the top, academically and financially,” he said. “They’re like a well-oiled machine.”
Brecksville schools announced Dec. 6 that it had hired Yaniglos, and Brookfield’s board approved his resignation Dec. 11.
Yaniglos said his work in getting Brookfield out of fiscal emergency “put my name out there in the universe of treasurers.”
promoBonekovic said she can’t blame Yaniglos for leaving.
“He was offered a (financial) package that Brookfield could never touch,” she said.
Yaniglos said he will make more than twice what he is making now. Even though he is not leaving just to earn more money, the pay gets to a lesson he said Trumbull County schools have to learn. If you want to attract a good treasurer, you have to offer a competitive financial package.
Under the law, the school superintendent and treasurer are equals, but many school districts pay their treasurers substantially less, he said.
“The wrong person can definitely put the school district in financial trouble quickly,” Yaniglos said.
Yaniglos said he is proud of what was accomplished in Brookfield during his tenure, including moving from fiscal emergency “to having a healthy 60-day cash balance.”
He also said he worked to build a good relationship with the unions, and that resulted in the finalizing of new contracts for both.
Yaniglos’ last day at Brookfield will be Jan. 31.
The position of treasurer will be posted Dec. 13 and closed Dec. 27, Bonekovic said. The board hopes to conduct interviews the first week of January and hire a new treasurer Jan. 13.
Bonekovic added that she has asked Yaniglos to work his network of treasurers and suggest that some good candidates apply for the Brookfield job.
“We’re hoping he can lead us in a good direction,” she said.
“I’ve reached out to some people who might be interested,” he said.
Yaniglos’ move also leaves Niles City schools looking for a new treasurer.