New Harford HR director appointed as former director's tuition repayment still debated

Janet Schaub officially became Harford County's new human resources director Tuesday night, to a standing ovation from a number of department heads, after Scott Gibson stepped down last month.

Harford County Executive Director David Craig attended Tuesday's council meeting to heap praise on Schaub, who got hugs from many of the county leaders.

Craig said he loved to promote from within and he believes Schaub will do a good job.

"She'll work well with all of you," Craig told the government leaders.

Gibson's tenure, meanwhile, remains under discussion after the county asked him to pay back his expenses from a Harvard University professional program he attended shortly before he stepped down.

County auditor Chrystal Brooks confirmed that an audit determined Gibson should pay back $16,455.97 for tuition expenses paid on his behalf and time off, but management disagreed they were tuition expenses, arguing they were professional expenses.

The county paid $11,800 for tuition on Gibson's behalf in 2013, according to the audit.

That was found to be a violation of the county's policy, but management said the policy did not need to be revised, Brooks said.

The auditor felt it could set a troubling precedent.

Councilman Dion Guthrie confirmed through Brooks that a difference of about $4,000 was still owed to the county by Gibson.

Brooks replied she was not overly concerned about the leave not being re-paid, as there has been some action taken to recover that amount.

"If it's professional development, I don't have a problem with that," Brooks said. "The county executive could have called that administrative leave and he would have been paid for that, anyway."

Guthrie later said he likes Schaub much better than he did Gibson.

"I know I didn't support your predecessor the first time he came because he didn't have the education or the background, and then four years later I didn't support him because his actions over that four years showed that he didn't have it," Guthrie said. "Your experience certainly outweighs anything else, so you're certainly going to have my support."

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