Controversy brewing over hiring at Nacogdoches ISD

Almarie Henderson.
Almarie Henderson.
Rodney Hutto.
Rodney Hutto.

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The dissention came when Nacogdoches ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney Hutto hired Phil Mahar, a former school board president, as the district's new chief financial officer. The board knew nothing of it.

"It has nothing to do with Mr. Mahar himself, but the procedure, the way it went about, it just, there was something in there that I just didn't care for," said board member Almarie Henderson.

The concern is a job posting that originally required a master's degree, something Mahar doesn't have.

"CPAs don't even have a Master's degree," Hutto said.

Hutto claims the changes were made to enlarge the applicant pool.

"It was a minor adjustment on the thing, I mean, we're not talking anything major," Hutto said. "This was just a minor tweek so we could draw local or close around in order to get some longevity out of some people."

The other concern is Mahar wasn't the search committee's first recommendation. Some sources say he wasn't even the second choice.

"The committee itself fell like it was used because they made two separate recommendations and neither one of them was honored," Henderson said.

"Our job is to hold our superintendent accountable," board member Matt Rocco said. "There was a process that appears to be compromised that occurred without any discussion with the board on why the standards were lowered."

"The board would not normally be notified if there's something we're not changing," Hutto said. "We just altered the requirement slightly."

And one last perception: Phil Mahar, no matter how qualified, served on the board that hired Hutto in the first place.

There are efforts underway to bring the issue before the board again.

Hutto says that would be non-productive, because the superintendent does not need board approval when hiring administrative staff.

Calls to Mahar, as well as other board members who approved the hiring, have not been returned.

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