published Friday, February 25th, 2011

Financial officer leaving school system in March

by Dan Whisenhunt

Hamilton County Schools top financial officer will step down March 7, but he said he will be with the school system through its budget process.

Tommy Kranz, who joined the school system in 2007, is leaving his job as chief financial officer for the same job at ERMC, a facilities management firm owned by local businessman Emerson Russell.

Kranz, 52, is a native of Baton Rouge, La., and has recently been a visible figure as the school system and the County Commission wrestle over who will control millions of dollars generated by payment in lieu of taxes agreements.

The increasingly contentious battle is not why he's leaving, Kranz said. ERMC is a better opportunity, he said.

"It's been a wonderful experience, great people, and this has nothing to do with anything there," he said.

Russell said he has agreed to let Kranz work with the school system as it puts together its budget. He said he hired Kranz because of his track record handling large budgets.

The school board typically adopts its budget in April and presents it to the County Commission in early May.

Board of Education member Jeffrey Wilson said he wishes Kranz the best.

"He's been a valuable asset to the district," Wilson said. "I hate to see him leave."

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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