Business Manager Leaving District 46, Once Again

Todd Covault, the newest business manager for District 46, is leaving for post in Decatur after just two months on the job.

 once again will be without a business manager, as Todd Covault is leaving after just two months on the job. He has accepted a similar position with downstate Decatur District 61.

"It's a pretty sad day around here," Superintendent Ellen Correll said. "Todd has done extraordinarily well. He let us know Tuesday of the opportunity and then confirmed on Wednesday morning that he will be leaving."

Officials from Decatur District 61 say they are happy to have Covault join their team when the position becomes effective Oct. 3.

"We have been actively been seeking a business manager for 14 months," said Jeff Gaunt, District 61's director of community engagement.

"This is a unit district with about 9,000 students. A sales tax increase was approved this year. Because of this, we will be doing approximately $70,000,000 in renovations and Mr. Covault will play a key role in that development," said Gaunt.

Covault's departure from also may be a reaction to the intense scrutiny he has been under as he proposed the 2011-12 budget, which is up for approval by the school board.

"I am trying to answer everyone's questions. There have been so many I don't know that I can even keep track of all of them, although I have tried," Covault said at the Board of Education special board meeting Tuesday morning.

Who the business manager baton will be handed over to next is anyone's guess.

"I don't know what we will do," said Correll. "There hasn't been time to discuss it yet."

Victor Berner, who has served as an interim business manager for D46 over the past three years of the revolving door of employees in the position, had noted previously that salary had been a issue in attracting the right candidate. That may have been the case for Covault.

By all accounts, Covault met all the criteria needed to successfully oversee the finances for Grayslake K-8 schools when he was hired two months ago. He was thought of as a good addition to the administration, until just this week when he announced he was leaving.

"He got an offer he couldn't turn down," said Correll. He got "an increase in salary and the type of project that matters to him and that he has wanted to work on."

Lennie Jarratt September 16, 2011 at 01:59 AM
"revolving door of employees in the position" --- Ellen's trackrecord 1. Dan Aggen - Under his tenure the Daily Herald found the overpayment & underpayment of staff 2. Brad Goldstein - Left after 1 year 3. Ed Towle - Hired then told to lie and resign by Ellen, then fired before ever starting. Now suing D46 for breach of contract 4. David Tylavsky - Left in under a year. Stories have changed on this, was he fired or did he resign. 5. Todd Covault - Stayed under 3 months
Lennie Jarratt September 16, 2011 at 02:03 AM
http://libertyville.patch.com/events/education-forum-and-movie# -- Event notice.
Sully September 16, 2011 at 02:21 AM
Oh boy, you're showing The Cartel again. Funny how when something tea party related is pointed out that isn't local, it's not relevant, but a propaganda piece taking place in New Jersey is. Why is that Lennie? Kind of like YOUR blogs are always accurate and truthful, yet when other blogs are referenced, they're not because they're 'just blogs'. And Lisa calls us hypocrites.
Fifteen Year Grayslake Resident September 16, 2011 at 03:05 AM
Covault is friends with his future boss, is getting a big raise, and gets to lose a horrible commute. Makes sense to me, doesn't seem like malfeasance or bad judgement by Ellen. BTW wonder if he will revive his political aspirations in Decatur; not only did he run for school board in the south suburbs recently, he also ran in the Kansas Democratic Primary for U. S. Senate in 1998. Lost but got 40% of the vote.
Cindy Lawton September 16, 2011 at 08:58 AM
1) Another failure by the superintendent to get a handle on how serious people are about wanting to work for and help this district. Ellen seems unqualified to judge who should be working as a business manager for the district. 2) How pathetic that this guy bails after three months? Sorry, I know people have the right to do what they want, but what kind of person just bails after three months? It would seem to me that the intelligent thing to do would have been to sign this person to a one or two-year commitment, but then again, that would take foresight. 3) Sullivan, you have an unhealthy obsession with the Tea Party. Can you go one post without mentioning the Tea Party? 4) This guy is a piece of garbage for bailing on the district and the kids. Oh no, my job is too hard. So sick of this mentality. I wonder how many people would love to have his job.
Cindy Lawton September 16, 2011 at 08:59 AM
What ever happened to people caring about the kids more than the money? WHoever the district finds next should darn well be someone who cares about the kids first and foremost above salary.
Sully September 16, 2011 at 09:48 AM
Cindy, I DO care about the kids, which is why I am "obsessed' with the tea party. I care enough to know how dangerous their ideas are to the future of this country. Sorry if that offends you, but tough. And I guess Elen's crystal ball showing her that Covault would leave after three months wasn't working. How dare she hire a qualified individual knowing that he'd bail after so short of a time. She should have seen it coming. I agree that Covault should have honored the commitment he made, but that is not Ellen's fault.
HM September 16, 2011 at 11:39 AM
While I agree that this is probably not Ellen's fault, there is something sytemically wrong when this type of thing happens. I think that if you look at the big picture, there is plenty of "blame", if you must use that term, to go around. There have been some big failures on Ellen's part (she owns the Towle problem - she did not perform due diligence in her search for the candidate), and the Tyvlasky situation just smells bad. Aggen was incompetent, but not hired by Ellen - she inherited him from "Dr." Anderson and his big mess. Brad did a very good job, and his leaving was a blow to the district, and Ellen did hire him. I don't know the truth of this situation, but it seems that if this gentleman had all of these ties to the district where he is going, there must have been some indication, somewhere, that he was not dedicated to D46. I think it's not so much Ellen picking a bad candidate here, but that she is not a good recruiter/interviewer. I would hope she enlists the help of someone who is better at vetting out these potential business managers as we move forward. This district can not afford to NOT have a good business manager at this time.
GoBlue September 16, 2011 at 02:30 PM
This article is about Covault leaving, so can we please stay on task. No employer can predict the future and last time I looked Correll was not clairvoyant. All you can do is interview potential candidates, and select the candidate who you feel has the qualifications to perform the tasks at hand. Covault by all accounts has been excellent. He was not a bad hire. The man decided to take a better opportunity elsewhere. Sorry, but there is no way at this point in time that anyone much less Correll is going to be able to hire a top notch business manager who will stay long term unless there is some kind of miracle. We do not pay enough (which is clearly stated in the article) and who would want a job where the residents of CCSD 46 will attack you from the moment you accept the job until the day you leave. I know I would not want this job. So instead of ripping Correll apart, what do you suggest we do Lennie? Can you hire a better business manager? Doubt it. I really could care less about your tea party affiliation. The bottom line is you never give any solutions. Your vendetta against Correll is obviously very personal, so I am not sure how anyone can take your repeated comments as anything other than irrational attacks. . It is so easy to tear people down, but much harder to build them up. I am guessing you have never tried to build anyone up. We should just call you the demolition man.
GoBlue September 16, 2011 at 02:43 PM
I am not disagreeing with you one bit that Correll has made mistakes and I am sure she would like a redo with some of the hires. In this case, I am not sure what Correll could have done differently. She looked at the candidates before her and selected a man who appears to have exactly what you would want from a business manager. He has the background, experience and knowledge to do the job and do it well. There is no way for a potential employer to know your ties to anything. What potential hire would go into an interview and tell a potential employer that sorry, you are my fallback job. I really want another job I applied for with another district, but since I have no offer I guess I will take your job for now. Of course if that job offer comes through I am leaving. Even if Correll knew about his ties to the superintendent from the other district, who is to say that Covault would have received a job offer from them? So you are telling me, let’s not hire a qualified individual by chance that he may accept another position down the road because he has ties to or contacts with other school districts. That is just crazy. If you used this line of thinking, good luck hiring any qualified individuals.
HM September 16, 2011 at 03:25 PM
One can not possibly know what the future will bring - we are on the same page there. I just think that, given the history, it appears that there is more to this than just bad luck. This kind of turnover does not happen without reason, and I don't think the sole reason is Ellen. I also don't think the district has a very good procedure in place for hiring. When this revolving door started revolving, it could easily be said that Ellen is not to blame. However, it is now 5 Business managers later, and she does have some responsibility. If she is not able to adequately do background checks and vetting, then she should bring in someone who can. I will also cut her some slack due to the fact that Lennie has created a 3-ring circus that will drive away a lot of good candidates. However, there has to be someone up for the job. There are an awful lot of smart, well educated folks looking for work right now. It's a hiring manager's dream - there is such a rich pool of potential employees out there right now.
Sully September 16, 2011 at 05:24 PM
I do believe Ellen should make some changes in her hiring policies, but not because of Covault. I think in some cases, she leans too heavily on hiring from within the system rather than doing a wide search, but that's not uncommon. To blame her for this particular fellow is silly (not directing this at you, HM- it's more of a general statement).
GoBlue September 16, 2011 at 05:27 PM
I agree with you HM. I believe there is a good qualified candidate out there as well. It will just be harder to find that person, as they will be stepping into a firestorm of controversy.
Lennie Jarratt September 16, 2011 at 11:44 PM
This whole thing could have been over months ago if the district had allowed it: http://lakecountyteaparty.com/2011/09/10/d46-faq/
Sully September 17, 2011 at 12:15 AM
Gosh Len, as Lisa likes to say, you really do sound like a broken record. A broken record with a large chip, actually. Poor Lennie. If only Ellen would go away, all the world's problems would be solved. Why doesn't anyone else see that?
Lennie Jarratt September 17, 2011 at 12:28 AM
It is hilarious how you guys keep attacking and trying to make this personal when it is and has been all about the unethical behavior. As stated many many times, have a complete and thorough investigation if you want this to be over. It could have been over months ago if the district had allowed that to happen. Yet they keep trying to cover it up. Why? http://lakecountyteaparty.com/2011/09/10/d46-faq/
Sully September 17, 2011 at 12:50 AM
Dean Froehlig September 17, 2011 at 03:07 PM
Look up the definition of organization. Any group is only as strong as it's weakest person. If a few of you on here would honestly evaluate what has transpired over the past few years then you would realize that this story is just another piece of the puzzle. Why are people trying to cover anything up? Follow the money and you will probably answer that question.
Jim Marshall September 21, 2011 at 02:28 AM


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