FORT WORTH — Some in Fort Worth are reeling after a second top-level school district administrator was pushed out.
Chief financial officer and assistant superintendent Hank Johnson has quit following the Monday night resignation of popular Superintendent Walter Dansby.
At a board session on Tuesday night, Johnson got an earful from long-time trustee Judy Needham. She accused the CFO of turning in his budget at the last minute Tuesday, before anyone could get a look at it.
“This is an absolute joke. And it’s unacceptable for the future," Needham told Johnson. "We need to have information in April or May.”
Needham stormed out as the meeting continued.
Johnson announced his resignation Wednesday morning.
On Monday, Superintendent Walter Dansby was pushed out with a severance package and additional pay totaling $900,000.
School board president Christene Moss is a supporter of both ousted administrators.
“I really hated to see that," she said. "Mr. Johnson is one of the best CFOs in this nation. And we had a really hard time getting him here."
But here’s the thing about what Needham said: She was wrong.
Board minutes show the CFO presented the district budget to the board in January, February and April.
In addition, school board president Moss said she had scheduled three additional works sessions where Needham could have dug deeper into the budget if she chose to.
"If board members want respect, they have to respect administration," Moss said. "You have to gain respect. That’s all I have to say about that. You’ll have to talk to Ms. Needham."
Needham did not return our calls on Wednesday.
"This district is in turmoil," said community activist Luther Perry. He said it will be difficult to attract good people for top jobs if their predecessors were pushed out and treated poorly.
“It’s time for a change; it’s time for a change,” Perry said. “I’m going to take an active part in doing something about it."
Perry won’t say what that "something" is, but he does have background in politics, having made an unsuccessful bid for Tarrant County Sheriff.