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Schuylkill County News

Business Manager at Pottsville Schools Calls Out 1 Board Decision That Led to Him Quitting

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The business manager at Pottsville Area School District announced Tuesday he’s leaving for a job at Shikellamy schools.

Directors at Pottsville Area accepted Manning’s resignation during their regular meeting on Tuesday evening. His resignation was announced following Manning outlining the proposed 2020-2021 budget for the school district.

The Decision That Sent Brian Manning Over the Edge at Pottsville

Manning was hired as Pottsville Area’s Business Manager as the school district stared down a fiscal crisis. In previous years, the school squandered millions of dollars while spending went unchecked.

To his credit, based on reports provided to the public, the last few years have shown some change. Expenses no longer outpace revenue, at least not as much as they had.

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But it wasn’t any one business decision, per se, that led to Manning announcing his retirement. It was a personnel decision.

In Manning’s resignation letter, acquired by The Canary, he details one particular recent decision by the board that caused him to seek a job elsewhere.

“Although I don’t always agree with every decision that is made in the district, there is one that I must be clear about in regards to the impact to the district and the blatant disregard of the best interests of the district,” Manning writes.

“That decision is in relation to releasing a long-term committed individual who volunteered years of free labor after retiring from the district. That individual is Kerry Ansbach,” he continues.

Ansbach served as Director of Building and Grounds at Pottsville Area.

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According to Manning, the decision to end Ansbach’s volunteer services at Pottsville happened at a December 2019 school board meeting, during an executive session often closed to the public.

Apparently Manning’s opinion differed from that of Superintendent Jeffrey Zwiebel.

“I was quickly reminded by the Board President that I report to the Superintendent and that disagreements between the Business Manager and the Superintendent will not be mediated by this Board,” Manning writes. “That moment was clear to me the direction that disagreements between Dr. Zwiebel and myself would be handled moving forward.”

“Slipping Through the Cracks”

Manning believes the decision to end Ansbach’s volunteer tenure at Pottsville impacted personnel who remained after his sudden departure.

“This decision has set several employees within the district up to fail without the proper supports and knowledge to take over the roles that Kerry filled for many years,” Manning continues. “It also has set the district up to fail without a proper plan in place. We are here 5 short months later lacking the proper supports in relation to the management of facilities.”

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Manning says the short-staffed building and grounds crew left at Pottsville Area are working without a plan. “When you take an individual that was working in excess of 40 hours per week out of the equation without a plan, things start slipping through the cracks. I fear that we have only begun to discover the items that Kerry had completed without Administration’s direct knowledge.”

The outgoing business manager says a “shift in power in favor of the Superintendent” among school board members led to Ansbach’s dismissal.

He writes, “It was clear with the facts and circumstance of this decision that it was made solely due to personal interests and not in the district’s best interest.”

View Manning’s full resignation letter below: Manning resignation


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