Rozich steps down at BHK

HOUGHTON – The Board of Directors of the BHK Child Development Board hired Patrick Rozich as the executive director of the agency in November to help get it out of some financial difficulties, and now he thinks the situation is stabilized enough for him to leave.

At the regular meeting of the Board of Directors Monday, members voted to make BHK Finance Director Chip Law the new executive director.

Rozich said when he joined BHK – which administers the Head Start program for Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties, and provides other services for families – in November, he it was only a temporary position.

“I made it very clear I was going to give this a year,” he said.

However, after six months, Rozich said the situation had improved so well, and he knew Law would do a good job as executive director, he felt he could leave early.

Rozich said in 2012, the BHK staff felt the spending of the previous director, Mike Poma, had become excessive, so they asked the Copper Country Intermediate School District to take over management until a new executive director could be found.

He took the job with BHK knowing just what he had to do, said Rozich, who has 30 years of experience in education, and who served twice as superintendent at Adams Township Schools.

“What had to be done was so obvious,” he said. “It was not a complicated thought process.”

Spending was reduced throughout the organization, Rozich said, and several BHK-owned properties were either sold or are for sale.

Law said the board members were very thorough during the interview process to find a replacement for Rozich.

“It was not easy,” he said.

He appreciates the effort Rozich put into getting BHK financially healthy, again, Law said. He also thinks the staff are doing excellent work to make the situation better.

“I want to thank all of you,” he said to the staff members at the meeting. “You’ve been great.”

During a break in the meeting, Rozich said he decided to leave now because he’s done as much for the organization as his skills will allow, and he knows Law can take it to the next level.

“We’ve got it under control,” he said of the spending at BHK.

He will stay on for awhile to help Law transition into his new position, Rozich said.

Also during the break, Law, who started at BHK in October 2012, said the organization serves an important role for the 2,000 families per year who use the organization.

“Our preschool prepares (children) well to enter kindergarten,” he said.

Law said one of his first priorities as executive director of BHK is to make families aware the organization is still operating.

“We are here,” he said. “BHK is here for the long term.”

On the issue of finances for BHK, a report of the most recent audit for the fiscal year ending Oct. 31, 2012, for the organization was given to board members Monday by Bruce Rukkila of Rukkila Negro and Associates of Houghton.

Rukkila said the number of BHK program funds decreased from 77 in 2011 to 44 in 2012. Net assets decreased from $5.7 million to $4.6 million.

After Rukkila spoke, Law said since Nov. 1, positive changes are taking place at BHK.

“Our spending is significantly lower across the board,” he said.

Spending throughout the organization is under budget for the year, Law said.

Administrative spending is down 30 percent. From November 2011 to June 2012, expenses were about $6.3 million, and from November 2012 to June, expenses were about $5.16 million for a difference of about $1.14 million.

“The steps we’re taking internally continue to bear fruit,” he said. “We’re counting our pennies better than we were before.”

In other business, board members:

approved a salary increase for information Technology Director Corey Johnson to $45,000 per year.

approved a salary increase for Early Head Start/Head Start Director Cheryl Mills to $65,000 per year.

approved a contract with Michigan Works for July 2013 to June 2014.