Oakland’s part-time CFO

Chief Financial Officer Leon Glaster wasn’t at tonight’s school board meeting. He won’t be around the district’s administrative offices as often as he used to be, either. That’s because he came out of retirement to work for OUSD — and as a retiree, he’s not permitted to work full-time for more than a year, Interim Superintendent Roberta Mayor explained at the meeting.

(Last October, the state administrator approved a two-year contract for Glaster that expired after September 2009. That contract now has “void” stamped across the top.)

Instead, Glaster has been hired as a consultant. He’ll work three weeks out of the month, at least until the school district hires a permanent chief business officer, and will help his replacement make the transition, Mayor said.

The problem is, OUSD hasn’t found a replacement.

I imagine it would take an adventurous spirit to take on the district’s fiscal matters at a time of steep enrollment declines, contract negotiations and uncertain state funding. Hopefully for OUSD, someone with smarts, know-how and dedication will submit their resume soon.

Anyone know a good candidate?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    The CFO may just be an operations guy similar to a Controller who makes sure that the checking account is balanced, the bills are paid, and has the right meetings, negotiations and phone calls about contract issues. The Schools and municipalities also need an economist/planner so their boards are warned that the property tax revenue will tank and have a good forecast of what the likely income and expenses will be.

    The cities are getting mid-budget surprises about revenue and such variable costs as fuel. These surprises which should have been forcasts much earlier are coming too late to smoothly adjust to them. So they abruptly “adjust” to them.

    As volitility increases we see more sudden adjustments. That shouldn’t have to happen.

  • turner

    OUSD has a CFO and a Controller. The Controller monitors the current and past financial operations. The CFO manages the big picture and acts as the economist for the district. OUSD has the proper structure in the Financial area for a big company.

    I just don’t get why the OUSD leadership thinks that an entity with a half-a-billion in transactions a year can get by with a part-time CFO. Are our problems part-time?

  • John

    I remember the OUSD board voting to eliminate the two internal district auditors. Later they abruptly learned about a gross budget deficiency triggering an OUSD state take-over.

    Given the low priority the board places on mental fiscal muscle perhaps a (permanent) state administrator pent house should be constructed a top the central administration building. It could include a wet bar with plenty of ‘dejavu sour grape’ for vintage board members.

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  • http://www.cfowise.com Ken Kaufman

    I am part of a company that places part-time CFOs in businesses. We usually find that once a company (in the for profit sector) hits $50-$75 million in sales they need a full-time CFO, of course in addition to the rest of the accounting and finance department fully functional.

    I am not familar off-hand with the Oakland school district’s size, but i am positive it far exceeds the threshhold I described. In my opinion, they definitely need someone full time.

  • Katy Murphy

    Ken: OUSD actually does have a full-time CFO now. Vernon Hal started Dec. 1.