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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Here's How Much Time Sharon Sobol Jordan Was Spending on Her Executive MBA While On the County's Payroll

Posted By on Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 9:28 AM

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County Executive Armond Budish told departing Chief of Staff Sharon Sobol Jordan that he'd allow her time to get her MBA if she took the job three years ago. She did, and as Mark Naymik reported today, Budish wrote a letter of recommendation in September 2016 to Ohio State supporting Jordan's application for the executive MBA program at Ohio State's Fisher School of Business. In the letter, Budish noted that the county would count her time spent on program activities as regular work for the county. In addition, he said they'd offer to reimburse her hotel stays and travel expenses. (A note: When asked by Scene in March 2017 if the county had any special employment benefit arrangement or agreement with Jordan, a spokesperson, after checking with HR, said it didn't.)

The generous arrangement, one which a) has attracted the attention of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office corruption investigators, who served a subpoena on Feb. 9, the same day Jordan announced she'd be leaving the position, seeking all details of her employment with the county and b) would qualify as a perk Budish said he'd no longer be offering after requesting county council remove any special compensation perks from the new personnel handbook (after literally trying to sneak the perk language into it, of course).

So what does an executive MBA program entail? How much time was Jordan, whose salary eclipsed $170,000 a year, spending on that while technically being credited with working her job as chief of staff? Good question. Here's what Ohio State said.

The 16-month program, which begins in January each year, requires students to meet three days (typically a Thursday through Saturday) once a month, with an additional 15-20 hours of study each week. There are also two weeklong "immersions," one of which is abroad.

Helluva deal, if you can get it.

Should the county be supporting employees who seek advanced education? Sure. Should it selectively offer it to some and not others? Probably not.

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