Burnaby nabs secretary-treasurer from embattled Vancouver school district

A secretary-treasurer who left the embattled Vancouver school board on medical leave a month ago has been picked to be the Burnaby school district’s new top moneyman.

Russell Horswill will start on Nov. 7, taking over the secretary-treasurer’s post vacated by Greg Frank in the summer, when Frank moved on to the Surrey school district.

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Horswill went on medical leave from the Vancouver district in late September — just days before a letter from the B.C. Superintendents Association to Education Minister Mike Bernier about the working environment at the Vancouver board office became public.

In the letter, obtained by Postmedia News, association president Sherry Ellwood called for immediate and direct intervention from the ministry on behalf of members “caught in the crossfire of the political dynamics of the Vancouver school board.”

The minister has since fired the Vancouver board and replaced it with a government-appointed trustee.

The letter did not name Horswill or the other Vancouver senior managers who left abruptly on medical leave in late September.

He is no longer on medical leave from the Vancouver district and was interviewed by the Burnaby school board “a couple of weeks ago,” according to chair Ron Burton.

Before his job in Vancouver, which lasted less than a year, Horswill spent four years in the Comox Valley school district, where Ellwood was the superintendent.

Before Comox, Horswill was the associate superintendent of business services in the Grande Prairie school district; he has also worked in the Fort Vermilion and Rocky Mountain school districts in Alberta, and in the Kimberley, Stikine and Merritt school districts in B.C.

“We look forward to him joining the team,” Burton told the NOW.

This is the second time in recent years the Burnaby and Vancouver boards have faced off over a secretary-treasurer.

In September 2015, Vancouver hired Frank out from the under the Burnaby district, but Frank abruptly reversed his decision at the end of October before announcing in the spring that he’d accepted the job in Surrey.

For more stories about Burnaby go to burnaby now.com

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