The assistant school superintendent for business, Steven DeVaux, resigned unexpectedly last week.
Hired less than a year ago to replace long-time business manager William Smyth, DeVaux departed quietly, with police officers apparently escorting him out of the Board of Education building. [Please follow link for correction of this portion of the sentence.]
Tom O'Brien, a school board member, confirmed Monday that DeVaux had stepped down and that Smyth would be filling in for awhile.
Though O'Brien refused to talk about "a personnel matter," others said that DeVaux apparently resigned under pressure after complaints arose about his management style and his inability to use the district's computer system effectively to create necessary financial reports.
Neither DeVaux nor school Superintendent Philip Streifer could be reached Monday.
Smyth said that that Streifer asked him last week if he would be willing to fill in on an interim basis until a successor for DeVaux can be found.
Smyth started working in the familiar job on Wednesday, the day after DeVaux’s departure.
Smyth said there's nothing wrong in the office, just "a lot of activity" churning out the reports that flow through.
"I just have to keep them running," Smyth said.
Mayor Art Ward said that Streifer told him that DeVaux resigned "due to personal reasons" and didn't expound further.
The mayor said he figured there was "something of a personal nature" involved so he didn't probe the issue.
Ward said that he's happy to work with Smyth in the meantime.
"He was right on top of everything," the mayor said, which may not always have been true for DeVaux. But Smyth had the advantage of longevity and the insight it allows.
Smyth "was probably a lot more comfortable given his experience" in dealing with all sorts of education issues, Ward said.
The mayor said that he doesn't think that DeVaux's departure will slow the process of acquiring property for new schools, an issue that DeVaux was heavily involved in.
He said that Streifer also knew what was going on and Smyth can step in quickly, too.
DeVaux started in the job in July, leaving a position as the director of finance and management services for Monroe’s public schools.
DeVaux has also has served as Derby’s school business manager and put in a number of years on the Brookfield Board of Education as well.
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