Robert Kuehnle

Mansfield City Schools Treasurer Robert Kuehnle.

MANSFIELD -- The Mansfield City Schools Board of Education voted 4-1 Tuesday night not to renew the contract of the district's treasurer, Robert Kuehnle.

Board member Cheryl Weber was the lone "nay" vote.

Kuehnle was read a letter by board President Renda Cline following the vote, explaining he was to be placed on paid administrative leave immediately and turn in all keys and key fobs for the district's buildings to the Human Resources Department.

Cline said Kuehnle was dismissed from the meeting after the letter was read. She said the board does not comment on personnel matters.

On Kuehnle's way out of the board room, he shook hands with Weber.

The board appointed Cathy Troyer as a pro-tem to fill in as treasurer for the evening.

Gary Feagin, the board's vice president, said he expected the hiring of a treasurer to be quick.

"We'll find an interim first," he said.

Kuehnle was hired in February of 2016 and he earned multiple national business associations honors and Certificates of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO).

Last month the district earned an auditor of state award with distinction.

Yet the treasurer was also a controversial figure.

Kuehnle faced scrutiny from former co-workers at his previous employer, Benjamin Logan Local School District. Accusations included inappropriate and unprofessional conduct with students via social media as well as instances of paying approximately $800 for a student to attend an educational trip to Boston and having lunch with her upon her return.

The Ohio State Board of Education recommended the Mansfield City Schools treasurer be placed on a two-year probation for his behavior at that in 2012-2013. A hearing at the Ohio Department of Education in Columbus began July, 15, 2019.

“We were happy to see that the report of the State Board of Education specifically found that, with respect to the social media tweets and direct contacts that Mr. Kuehnle had with students, while he was treasurer at the Benjamin-Logan Local school district six years ago, there was nothing in the evidence which in any way showed any improper or bad intent by Mr. Kuehnle," said his representative counsel, James C. Carpenter, of Steptoe and Johnson in Columbus.

Still, tension followed with the Mansfield Board of Education and its treasurer.

On several occasions, Cline and Kuehnle engaged in awkward back-and-forth exchanges during school board meetings.

On Feb. 26, 2019, the board voted 4-1 to extend Kuehnle's contract for one year. Board member Chris Elswick cast the lone dissenting vote.

"I didn't vote in favor of the extension because I don't trust him," Elswick said at the time. "He has had some very deceptive behavior in my opinion and some of the charges are concerning -- pertaining to girls."

The board took a recess after the non-renewal.

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Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.