WOODBURY — Naugatuck Controller and School Business Manager Wayne McAllister will spend his retirement as the new director of finance and operations in the Region 14 school district.
McAllister, a Naugatuck resident, announced his retirement in February after working 24 years in borough government and becoming eligible to collect a pension at 60 years of age. But Region 14 continued to seek a permanent replacement for James Reese, who left the district in August for personal reasons. And on Thursday, McAllister signed a contract to fill the job starting July 1.
“The opportunity to work in the regional district with an outstanding ag-science program was too tempting to pass up,” McAllister said, reminiscing about summers spent on a Vermont dairy farm run by his grandparents, great-grandparents and uncle. “That was the plan. To get back on the tractor and enjoy it for awhile.”
The Board of Education appointed McAllister in a unanimous vote Monday, accepting Superintendent of Schools Jody Goeler’s recommendation after a job search that began in September and required five separate solicitations for candidates.
“There were excellent candidates but with no public school experience,” Goeler said, expressing the need for someone to help guide the district through a building project and reform initiatives. “We needed someone who understands public schools.”
McAllister started as the Naugatuck assessor in 1989 and finished his tenure as both the borough’s controller and the school business manager.
Naugatuck officials credit McAllister for helping restore the borough and school district to fiscal health, building the borough’s reserve fund to between 8 and 9 percent of the budget and closing a $2 million school budget gap by overhauling the business office.
“He did great work in Naugatuck,” Goeler said. “And we’re thrilled to have him on board.”
McAllister will replace John Turk, the interim director of operations, who resigned abruptly in April because he said a work issue threatened to compromise his credibility and ethics. After meeting with Turk, the Board of Education found no unethical conduct by any district employee or administrator.
“I don’t concern myself with those things,” McAllister said, adding he had not spoken with Turk and was not privy to the facts. “I know my own capabilities.”
McAllister will earn $115,000 in his new job and a $77,279 pension from Naugatuck. And he said he had no immediate plans to retire again.
“I think I’m good for another 10 years,” he said.
Alia Malik contributed to this article.