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This article hit my Google news feed Saturday morning, likely because I am a fiscal officer for a municipality in Central Ohio. The story and headline seem extremely misleading to me. If you read through the posted PDF contract, the "bonus" alluded to in the headline is a contracted payment. Contracted retention bonuses are generally used as an excuse to reduce base pay obligations for new executives. I wonder why The Athens News did not include that explanation and distinction in the article? A well researched article would also answer the following questions. What was the prior CFO paid as compared to Ms. Shaffer's base pay? What payouts and bonuses was the former CFO paid when he retired? How long was the former CFO on payroll. It takes less than five minutes to google the Buckeye Institute and research the answer to these questions and most journalists are well aware of the data source. Spoiler alert, Mr. Golding made more than the CFO's base pay for many years after he retired. Full disclosure, working in a small community, I can be skeptical of local news articles. They are often influenced by politics. Folks in Athens seem happy to jump on the angst left in the wake of this article. Me, an outsider, I am left wondering who leaked this news story to the newspaper. This article appears to be an attempt to discredit the current CFO and cause division in the community. If there are layoffs and belt tightening, I would assume the revenues cannot support expenses. How many articles are being written about the revenue loss? No one, least of all a CFO, wants layoffs. I would encourage The Athens News to start researching the real story here. When there were layoffs in my town, I work with the local press to make sure the community is informed. University's are very different than municipalities, but I still think newspapers can help encourage meaningful discussions. Writing a take-down piece of one executive seems less than helpful to me. Hoping Athens and Ohio University can find a more constructive way forward.

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