By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Lee County School District hired a new business manager Tuesday night.
Lee County Assistant Comptroller Michael Martin was approved unanimously by the School Board. He replaces Randy Thweatt, who lost his job after being arrested on embezzlement charges in April.
Thweatt was placed on administrative leave and later retired. He pled guilty to two counts of embezzlement.
Retired former Corinth Schools Business Manager Bobbie Sparks has held the job in the interim.
Martin, 42, is a 1989 graduate of Aberdeen High School and received his bachelor’s and master’s of accountancy from the University of Mississippi.
“Having been in government the last four years, this seemed like a good opportunity for me,” he said. “We have a really good staff here with a lot of experience, and I look forward to working with them.”
Lee County Superintendent Jimmy Weeks said the district received 13 applications after it advertised the job about four weeks ago. Weeks, School Board member Ronnie Bell and Sparks narrowed the list to seven candidates to interview. The position pays $72,500 annually.
“Michael is a certified public accountant and he has worked in county government and on school audits,” Weeks said. “Any of the seven could have given us what we were looking for, but Michael seemed to be the best one for the job.”
Martin has worked for Lee County since 2008. Prior to that, he spent 12 years with local accountant J.E. Vance, where he served as audit manager. During that time, he had experience auditing school districts. He also spent a little more than a year as a staff accountant for Eubank & Betts in Jackson.
“I think Michael will be a great asset to the district,” said Lee County Administrator Sean Thompson, who has worked closely with Martin in his current job. “He has helped advance some of the financial reporting processes we have done here in Lee County, and he will be greatly missed.”
Sparks will continue to help the district until Martin “gets his feet under him,” Weeks said. She’ll also probably help him with the budget process this spring, Weeks said.