HOUGHTON - A plan of action regarding the now-confirmed $1.2 million deficit was partially approved by the BHK Child Development Board Thursday.
The plan included installing a new director and making additional cuts to programs and personnel.
Following a closed session to discuss specific cuts, the board approved the hiring of Pat Rozich as the new executive director. The board also authorized $661,000 in additional staffing cuts, not including personnel cuts that had been made Oct. 19.
Scott Viau/Daily Mining Gazette
Copper Country Intermediate School District Superintendent Dennis Harbour addresses staff and the BHK Child Development Board Thursday at the BHK center in Houghton with a proposed plan of action for getting the agency out of its $1.2 million dollar deficit.
Rozich, former superintendent of Adams Township Schools will begin as director immediately.
"I'm really excited because this is such a valuable agency," he said. "I know we can restore it to its proper place in our community. It's a respected place and it's going to be respected again. It's not going to be quick, it's going to be a little tough, but I know we can do it and I appreciate the opportunity to work with the rest of the people in this agency to fix things."
Bill Polkinghorne, retired superintendent of Houghton-Portage Township Schools, has also been named as an associate director. He will be in that position for three months to assist Rozich.
According to Copper Country Intermediate School District Superintendent Dennis Harbour, although the BHK board approved the cuts, they also need to be approved by the parent council before things can move forward, which is part of federal regulations for the Head Start program.
"These are federal programs for which in order for action to be taken, a Parent Council must also approve these cuts," Harbour said. "(The cuts) don't really become official until both approve of them. BHK is more than Head Start but Head Start is the main part of BHK."
As reported in the Oct. 25 edition of The Daily Mining Gazette, it's also been confirmed that the reason for the deficit was the continuation of programs and teachers past the expiration of the grant that paid for those services.
"In the last fiscal year, expenses were not reduced when grant revenues were terminated," Harbour said. "I do not understand why that was the case, but that's clearly a fact."
In his presentation to the board, Harbour introduced a two-phase budget reduction plan. Phase one will include removing programs and personnel not supported by grant revenue. Phase two includes the proposed sale of real estate, organizational changes and the possible change to employee benefits.
BHK has also hired a new financial director. Former director of administration of a Green Bay, Wis., nonprofit agency, Chip Law, has taken the job. He was hired Oct. 29. In the past nine months, BHK has gone through three financial directors.
"I'm very confident." Harbour said. "He's hit the ground running and I'm delighted."