D159 Hires Troy as Director of Business Operations

The Mokena school board approved the hiring of former President John Troy as the district's new business manager during its Sept. 5 meeting.

In a 5-2 vote, the Board of Education approved the hiring of former Board President John Troy as its new director of business operations, effective immediately. July 23 in order to seek the business manager position after the previous director,

"I am excited and grateful for the votes of confidence for me, and I will work every day to earn their confidence," Troy said.


Troy is currently enrolled at Northern Illinois University in an expedited program to earn his Chief School Business Official Type 75 certificate, which he is expected to receive in the spring of 2013. He is a licensed attorney, and he has served as the chief executive and general counsel for Ashford Glen Realty in Tinley Park since he co-founded the real estate management company in 2005. He was elected to a four-year term on the D159 board in 2009, and was voted president in 2011 and re-elected in 2012 before his resignation.

He said he considers his three years on the board to be a positive experience that will benefit his work as the district's business manager.

"We should want people to come onto the board and to show their passion, and I think my passion and dedication has shown, not only to the board, but the community," Troy said. "I've demonstrated that, and I'll take that same passion and dedication to my service with this district."


Troy will earn a prorated salary of $68,000 through the length of his contract.

Board members Scott Peters and Katherine Moore were the only two to vote against the motion to hire Troy, citing concerns about his lack of experience in educational finance and the fact that he has not yet earned his Chief School Business Official certificate.

"I'm not taking anything away from Mr. Troy," Peters said. "He's a very intelligent person with a lot of business background, but I feel that our district, having a superintendent that has only been in this position for a year, I think we deserve somebody that has all their certifications and experience."

Peters also suggested that an interim business manager might better suit the district's needs.

"I understand that it's probably not the board's wish, so I will not try to amend the motion on that, but I do believe that our district deserves some experience in this position, so that we can help out Mr. Stein in his endeavors," Peters said.

Moore echoed Peters' concerns.

"It's a big deal for us to hire somebody who has no finance experience, and no accounting, and isn't certified, when we have a superintendent that we know is not very strong in the finance side," she said. "I think it's important for our district to have somebody strong in this role."


Board member Michael Ford addressed Peters' suggestion about an interim business manager by pointing out that the motion to hire Troy would be a one-year contract, at which point the board could re-evaluate Troy's performance and decide if it will commit to further employment.

Board President Patrick Markham appended an enthusiastic endorsement to his vote in favor of hiring Troy, praising his business experience and dedication to the district through previous board service.

"[Troy] has experience other applicants never had," Markham said. "This candidate actually has experience negotiating teacher contracts. This candidate has an in-depth knowledge of the district needs, the challenges, and the operation, hands-on, through his voluntary efforts… The candidate is actually a fully certified attorney. I find it incredible that he would be willing to devote his efforts to this job, and I can only define that as probably a passion."


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carole September 06, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Good luck ,Mr Troy.
R.W.Voter September 06, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Isn't it odd, that the vote had two nays, and what a surprise, Mr. Peters, the husband of a district employee. Maybe he feared that Mr. Troy would eliminate her position. I really don't see how Mrs. Moore could be able to vote, she hasn't attended meetings in a long time, except for being on the phone, and who knows where she is taking the call from. Honestly, isn't there a residency requirement for a board member. The primary residence is always the location where the individual spends most of their time. Do a great job Mr. Troy. Thank you
Joe in the know September 06, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Isn' t it odd that a district with financial troubles would hire someone with no school finance experience ? Great he knows how to negotiate with the teachers, but what about making sound financial decisions that will benefit our children instead of continually putting programs and technology on hold. It's hard to believe there were no candidates with experience that would have been a good fit. Mr. Troy has a big job ahead of him.
C. Martinez September 06, 2012 at 04:31 PM
FYI: The Business Manager position was supposedly "briefly" posted on an educational job website. But it was taken down soon after. I was given a link where it was posted but when I tried to click on the link (maybe 3 or 4 weeks ago) the job posting was removed. It has never been posted on the district/school websites and has not been publicly announced. So I do not know how many people applied for this position, but I would think it was not a lot. I think it might have been 5 people that applied for this position (per last board meeting comments). However I am hopeful that Mr. John Troy will do a great job. FYI: Recently the administration proposed a salary increase for this Business Manager position to a base salary of $100,000.00. However, Mr. John Troy has agreed to accept this position for base salary of $68,000.00. I think considering the factors involved and his lack of school finance experience and his willingness to accept the position at $68,000.00 seems appropriate. And maybe that's what this school district needs, a fresh new start. It's a huge challenge, but I think that Mr. Troy will adapt and apply his previous business experiences to make the best financial decisions for the schools. I understand it will be a bumpy road but we must try to support the board and keep the board accountable, so that they continue to make the best "unbiased" decisions and take positive steps forward and do what's best for our kids, teachers and community.
Earth is not Flat September 06, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Some keep referring to lack of finance experience. Mr Troy has started, owned, operated more than one business to a very successful end. I cannot believe that would be so if he had no “financial acumen” Some say no school financial experience. Nearly two years as Board of Education President Dist 159. Understand the Board is responsible for ALL district facets, not to mention financial stewards. I am of the mind Mr. Troy has had a boatload of school finance exposure in his tenure. Oddly enough the new board member, Jeff Regan, found concerning discrepencies in the reported Bus Fee Revenue and the actual. Further he inquired about a portion of the registration fees and was told by another board member, Scott Peters, that heretofore we didn’t use to track that revenue. So much for our past “experienced” Business managers. I propose that this board knew exactly what the district needed and had the courage to do it. What is most important some perception of a person or a persons character and skills. I tip my hat to Mr Troy to show up at meeting and face the vote , good or bad, relative to his application. Now, I don't necessarily agree with everything I say, but I think this is a slam dunk great move by a decisive board.
Johnny on the spot September 06, 2012 at 07:06 PM
The best decision they could have made .KUDOS to JOHN TROY and way to stand up for our community Pat Markham thank you best decison you made to date >>>>>
Lew September 06, 2012 at 08:02 PM
No matter who is hired it does not change some fundamental facts. The district has one of the lowest Educational Fund tax rates and spends among the very lowest in per pupil expenditures in the state. And that's including some economically depressed towns such as Ford Heights, East St Louis and rural downstate areas. Additionally, with the state's failure to pay its constitutional part of education funding, and the lack of retail, industrial and commercial businesses in the district results in virtually a super majority and disproportional amount of the revenue coming from homeowners. Three failed referendums have shown that the revenue stream will be "somewhat" flat (save for the goofy formula that still increases our taxes because of the combination of EAV, rates, caps, etc.). So what we have currently is a budget that is "balanced" by delaying expenditures. One day books will have to be replaced, maintenance will have to be done on roofs and parking lots, technology will have to be updated, there could be some bad health care experience, etc. And with 80% of the budget going to "people expenses", the challenge by the next business manager will be to continue to "cut your way to prosperity" with the other 20%. And one wonders why the three other business managers quit? Maybe they got tired of trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip...
Lew September 06, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Now I'd like to put on my HR hat for a moment. When ever a candidate is significantly over or under qualified for a particular position it requires additional probing. My questions here would center around a candidate who has an engineering degree, an MBA and a JD degree and is willing to work for a "dream job" paying $68,000 which may be under market for a business manager let alone any of the other jobs any of the three degrees would earn you. Additionally, no matter how you spin it this first year is basically an internship. Without having the Type 75 credentials until the spring of 2013 you are learning as you go from now until then on the districts dime. I would also need to know more why the previous business manager quit citing personal and professional reasons (among them the perceived lack of faith by the board), there not being a full, at least a statewide posting of the position, and the board hiring what amounts to one of there own. With all that said, I wish both the board and all the best of success in the future in making the district the best it can possibly be for the benefit of the students.
john Q Adams September 06, 2012 at 10:00 PM
As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it. It seems "rumors" can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. So here are some FACTS. The SKY IS NOT FALLING! Above comment says the School board is balancing budget by delaying expenses! Like BOOKS: 2013 APPROVED BUDGET "BOOKS" APPROVED in 2013 BUDGET WORKBOOKS-MES $111,000.00 WORKBOOKS-MIS $16,000.00 TEXTBOOKS-MES $86,000.00 TEXTBOOKS-MIS $5,800.00 WORKBOOKS-MJH $24,000.00 TEXTBOOKS-MJH $5,500.00 BOOKS-LEARNING CENTER/ME $1,000.00 BOOKS-LEARNING CENTER/MI $1,000.00 BOOKS-LEARNING CENTER/MJ $1,000.00 Total APPROVED in 2013 Budget $251,300.00 TECHNOLOGY Computer budget request Wireless $60,000 only one building Times Two More buildings? By the way the main reason for request is for software that will be coming in future, but that software is not yet even developed and available!!!! PS. schools are wireless now, of course some people don’t like to have to sign into different wireless routers as they change schools or rooms. Meanwhile parents still pay exhorbatent FEES for such things as riding on the bus! Continued next post
john Q Adams September 06, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Continued: Previous Business managers tired of squeezing turnips. Wow, i wondered what they did! No really there is NO reason to bash former employees. Previous Business Manager Lets not bash them. They believed they were doing status quo job tendering Multi-million dollar deficit budget wish lists. They did not know how to bid out purchasing contracts One bid came back recommending the current vendor at a HIGHER price than currently paying!! No more on that. RE: "some small goofy tax formula that increases taxes" Oh My. Do not downplay what you call a "goofy formula that still increases our taxes” The district gets nearly $400,000 a year in increased TAX Revenue from the Community, doesn’t sound like a "flat revenue stream” to me. Tax Levy revenues for the district increased about 34%, they went from about 11 Million in 2007 to over 14 million in 2012-13 In the same time period Enrollment went DOWN about 27% or more Roofs, buildings: Maintenance, no requests were made in budget , in fact It was mentioned in open meeting that the district needs to figure out what they can spend the $50,000 grant on this year, free money. Further, the Superintendent was asked a direct question, was this budget impeding any needed expenses relative to buildings maint? Response "NO, we are OK!" Run for the Board, Elections are open to all. But please no more of the "sky is falling ' propaganda.
Carrie Underwood September 07, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Mokena, my little Chicago. I remember a few months ago when Troy resigned so he could "apply" for the position, along with all the other "applicants". I thought "boy, I wish there was a bookie that would take my bet on weather-or-not Troy edges out the other vetted candidates for the position. The 60-seconds that this job was on the boards must be a new record. At least we can console ourselves with the "appearance of propriety". Do the parents of school-age kids REALLY want another "Good ole' Boy", or do they want someone who actually possesses the proper credentials at the time of application for the job? Maybe I'll go apply at Silver Cross for for a cardiac surgeon position and tell them "I'm enrolled in med school." According to Albert Einstein the definition of insanity is: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I personally don't know this guy and moved from Mokena because of the mediocre school system, but as the HR guy above said: If it smells like a fish, walks like a fish, well it MUST be fishy. Nobody is fooled by the Congrats comments or "he ran some successful businesses, give him a contract and see how he does". Same OLD Mokena thinking. cont.
Carrie Underwood September 07, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Now that I'm retired, I have more time to spend in town to see all those Muni M-lic plates filling up with free gas and carwashes while the rest of you work 2 jobs to make taxes. I see the Water works guys milking it, the parks guys snoozing in $45,000 pickup trucks, and Mokena's finest filling clipboards daily with the license plate info of every car that parks at the Metra lot. The only one pleased to see the patronage at -work is probably St. Mary's, as their enrollment will grow. Wi-fi for $60 grand for ONE building, my , oh, my. It must be nice to have a blank check.
cannon fodder September 07, 2012 at 06:27 PM
You guys wondering the reason for the high turnover in Business Managers in D159 might find this information helpful: Besides this being the 4th business manager, since 2009 these schools have also gone through 8 principals, 7 assistant principals, two curriculum directors, and 3 student services directors. I will not even attempt to count the number of teachers who have left. To say that this kind of turnover is unheard of in the education field would be an incredible understatement. This is not a business manager specific issue that can be blamed on something being wrong with the finances. This is an issue with the entire district. I know that these problems were commonly blamed on the last superintendent. But she has been out of that job for over a year now, the problem is not abating. In fact it is accelerating. Wake up, Mokena.


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