Last updated: September 06. 2013 3:46PM - 26 Views

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Staff Writer

Delaware City Schools is in the process of beginning a search for a new finance director and treasurer.

Chris Blue, who has served in that role for the last 16 years, handed in her resignation this month. Blue is leaving the district due to multiple health issues, she told the Gazette in a phone interview Tuesday morning.

Blue has been on medical leave for about two weeks, but her retirement will be effective Dec. 31, district officials said.

“It’s been an honor for me to serve the school district and the community for the past 16 years,” Blue said. “I hold close to my heart so many fond memories of the staff and community. I wish everybody the best.

“We have a fantastic board of education. In all of my years at Delaware City Schools, that’s something that meant the most to me. The people who come forward to serve have really been great for the community and the district,” she said.

Blue, who makes $106,480 a year, first joined Delaware schools in July 1996. She replaced Beth Sholl who served as the Delaware City Schools finance director and treasurer for two years. Blue has worked under five district superintendents during her time in Delaware, officials said.

Blue received her bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in business management, and a master’s degree in business administration in executive management, both from Ohio’s Ashland University.

Prior to her time in the Delaware School District, she served as the treasurer of the North Union Local School District in Union County for seven years from 1989 to 1996.

Blue is a member and past president of the Central Chapter of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) and serves as the co-chairwoman of the legislative committee. She serves on the Auditor of State Central Ohio Regional Advisory Board and the Ohio High School Athletic Association Treasurer’s Liaison Group.

In addition to Blue’s professional organization memberships, she has also been recognized by others in the field, most notably earning the distinguished service award and the Virginia Ramsey Award through OASBO. Those individuals selected have made a significant contribution to their profession, having membership in professional associations and activities and earning additional credentials and education throughout their time in the field.

While Blue has been the Delaware schools treasurer, the district has received clean audits each year, Delaware schools spokeswoman Jen Ruhe said.

“This speaks highly to her work and how conscientious she is about making sure everything is taken care of just so,” Ruhe said.

Delaware City Schools Board President Matt Weller, a five-year board member, had similar comments about Blue’s performance as district treasurer.

“She’s been phenomenal,” Weller said. “Knowing that there aren’t going to be any questions about district finances and her projections is a great confidence to have, particularly for negotiations with all the unions and working with the levy campaign. To have confidence in her and her numbers is a great asset to the district.”

The process for finding an interim treasurer has already started, and the school board will discuss hiring an executive search firm to search for the district’s next permanent treasurer in an executive session at its next board meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Dempsey Technology Center, 621 Pennsylvania Ave., Delaware.

Although an official decision hasn’t been made, the district will likely use the same firm used to hire the district’s last three superintendents, including current superintendent Paul Craft. That firm, Sagamore Hills, Ohio-based Finding Leaders, assists in advertising for the position and whittling the pool of candidates, Weller said.

Once candidates are down to a select few, the board will conduct interviews, along with district staff and community members, as well as financial review task force members, Weller said.

“We want it to be a pretty open process,” he said. “She’s going to be tough to replace. We have relied upon her for so long and have had such great confidence in her over the time with the schools. It’s going to be tough to find somebody who measures up to the bar she has set for us, but I’m pretty confident we can attract a good replacement.”

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