Ybarra names new deputy, shops for legislative help

State superintendent Sherri Ybarra has promoted one member of her inner circle — and is looking to fill another top job.

Here’s a look at staff news within Ybarra’s State Department of Education.

Tim McMurtrey. Hired last summer on a contract basis, the former Mountain Home School District superintendent was hired to a staff job. He is now Ybarra’s deputy superintendent.

Tim McMurtrey

McMurtrey’s role is unchanged, Ybarra spokesman Jeff Church said. He will work on internal operations, and take the lead on developing and implementing the department’s strategic plan.

McMurtrey’s hourly pay will increase, slightly. As a contractor, he earned $50 per hour, with his annual pay capped at $105,000. He will now make $50.49 per hour, but in order to comply with Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho guidelines, McMurtrey will take two months off annually, Church said. That 10-month schedule could keep McMurtrey’s salary well below his previous $105,000 salary cap.

As Mountain Home district superintendent, McMurtrey was Ybarra’s old boss, before her November 2014 election. McMurtrey is one of several key Ybarra hires with Mountain Home connections.

Tim Corder’s job. Ybarra is shopping around for a new legislative liaison — after Corder abruptly and mysteriously left Ybarra’s staff in February.

The job was posted April 6. According to the posting, the legislative liaison’s duties include working on the superintendent’s budget proposals and working with legislators “to secure passage of the superintendent’s policy initiatives.”

Corder, a former state senator from Mountain Home, was hired shortly before the 2015 legislative session — Ybarra’s first as state superintendent. Ybarra has not commented on his departure. In a vague interview with Idaho Public Television, Corder said his mid-session departure wasn’t planned. “I think it’s just the way it worked out.”

The salary for the legislative liaison’s job is negotiable, according to the job posting. Corder’s salary was $108,139.

Pete Koehler 2
Pete Koehler

Pete Koehler. For Ybarra’s chief deputy superintendent, retirement is evidently on hold — again.

Koehler is likely to stay on until the spring or summer of 2017, Church said.

Koehler joined Ybarra’s staff in December 2014, as interim chief deputy. At the time, Koehler said he could work on the job for only a few months, due to PERSI restrictions. But by the spring of 2015, Koehler had put his retirement plans on hold. He has remained on staff ever since.

A former Nampa district superintendent, Koehler handles day-to-day operations and employee policy in Ybarra’s department. His salary is $125,008.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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