WHITEHALL, Pa. -

The Whitehall-Coplay School District Board of Directors approved a five-year contract for a new business manager to handle the district's fiscal affairs.

J. Michael Malay Jr. received the nod during Monday night's meeting, replacing outgoing business manager Robert Strauss, effective Tuesday.

Malay spent 12 years in public and corporate financial management and served as the assistant business manager for the Northwestern Lehigh School District for seven years beginning in 2001. He next moved to Lehighton Area School District where he served as business administrator. Malay graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and is a certified public accountant.

"The business manager can make or break a school district," said Superintendent John Corby. "It's an incredibly important position. He or she deals with the budget. They invest the money, if it's a bad investment, it speaks for itself. The state and federal government is coming up with more and more requirements that are incredible that we have to abide by."

Malay replaces Robert Strauss who had been the district's business manager since July 20,2001.

In other business, the board authorized Malay to designate any surplus fund balances remaining from the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2013, over seven percent, to be committed to the Public School Employees' Retirement System, commonly known as PSERS, subsequent to formal board approval.

Director Eileen Abruzzi was absent from Monday night's meeting.