Included for priority discussion at Monday’s TESD meeting is the reconsideration of a District Safety Consultant and the hiring of Andy Chambers for the position. The hiring of Chambers was previously included in the January 7 TESD meeting on the consent agenda but was not originally listed on the meeting agenda. Without proper notice on an agenda, the public is deprived of its right to be present and to know when decisions affecting the public are being made.
Yesterday, I received an anonymous email suggesting that I review the consent agenda for the January 28 meeting, specifically section C – Personnel. Admittedly, when I reviewed the agenda for the upcoming TESD meeting, my attention was to the safety consultant matter, overlooking this significant item. Included on tomorrow’s consent agenda is the following:
1. Routine Personnel Actions
The Board will take action on routine resignations, releases, retirements, leaves, and
appointments. The Board will also take action to record the names of volunteers who
have served in the schools in recent weeks.
2. Supervisory and Confidential Employee Compensation Plan, Compensation
Adjustments for 2013 – 2014 and January 2013 One Time Bonuses
3. Administrator Compensation Plan, Compensation Adjustments and January 2013 One
4. Contracted Services
The description of ‘consent agenda’ on the January 28 TESD School Board agenda states, “Although Board action is required, it is generally unnecessary to hold discussion on these items. With the consent of all members, they are therefore grouped and approval is given in one motion.”
The purpose of a consent agenda is to group routine, noncontroversial items together to be voted on under one motion. Items on the consent agenda should be routine items that board members don’t need any further information on prior to voting. The purpose of a consent agenda should not be used to hide important issues or stifle discussion.
Who is reviewing the TESD meeting agendas? For the January 7 TESD meeting, there was no mention made of anything related to ‘safety’ listed on the agenda, yet the hiring of Andy Chambers as the District Safety Consultant is added last-minute to the consent agenda. Now a couple of weeks later at the next Board meeting, we have administrator compensation and bonuses listed as routine consent agenda items. Again, … who is reviewing these meeting agendas?
Of the 141-page agenda, 40 pages are devoted to the compensation plan for supervisory and confidential employees and administrators and their one-time January 2013 bonuses. To include the approval of non-bargaining administrator salaries, benefits and their bonuses in a consent agenda can hardly be considered ‘routine’!
The Sunshine Act, no more than the discussion to outsource the custodians or aides as a cost-savings budget strategy, does not protect the discussion of administrator compensation and bonuses. The School Board and Finance Committee meetings have repeatedly discussed various budget strategies including increasing class size, student activities fees, possible further cuts to educational programming and recently the decision to review non-profits’ use of real property for qualified tax exempt status.
To my knowledge (someone please correct me if I’m wrong), there has never been any public discussion of a (1) supervisory and confidential employee compensation plan, (2) compensation adjustment for 2013-14 or (3) one-time January 2013 bonuses. So now, the matter just appears on the consent agenda for approval. How is this possible?
In a review of ‘Compensation Plan for Supervisory and Confidential Employees” (pgs. 61-77), I read the following:
January 2013 – July 1, 2013 a one-time bonus will be awarded to each employee based upon the Superintendent’s recommendation. On July 1, 2013 adjustment to base for selected employees shall be recommended by the Superintendent.
July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2016:
For each of the academic years beginning July 1, 2014 and through to June 30, 2016, 1.7% of the total salaries of this group, from the prior year, will be available in a pool for the Superintendent to distribute, at his discretion and with Board approval, as base salary increases. Specific percentage increases will vary among members of the group. In June of each year, beginning in June 2014, a 1% one-time bonus will be awarded each individual for the previous year’s service.
Individual Salary/Compensation Changes:
1. Individual may receive an increase to his/her base salary
2. Individual may receive bonus (merit) adjustment which is not added to base salary, but paid throughout the current school year or paid in the form of a lump sum
3. Combination of the above
The Act 93 Agreement, the ‘Administrator Compensation Plan’, January 29, 2013 through June 30, 2017 (pgs. 78-101) contains the following:
January 2013-June 2017
In January 2013, each administrator shall receive a one time bonus for service in the previous two and half years as approved by the Board at its January 28, 2013 regular meeting. In addition, adjustments to base salary for the previous two and a half years will be approved by the Board at its January 28, 2013 regular meeting.
For each of the academic years beginning July 1, 2013 and through to June 30, 2017, 1.7% of the total salaries of this group, from the prior year, will be available in a pool for the Superintendent to distribute, at his discretion and with Board approval, as base salary increases; specific percentage increase will vary for any one individual.
Beginning in June 2014, and continuing annually in June of each year, a one time bonus of 1% of the individual’s salary will be awarded to each administrator for service in the previous year.
The Board may not have had any questions about the compensation plan and the bonuses, but I do —
- When did the School Board discuss the compensation plan and bonuses, or are they seeing this for the first time as a consent agenda item?
- Where was the public discussion about the administrator compensation plan?
- Where was the public discussion about supervisory and confidential employees receiving a one-time bonus? And it’s to be paid this month!
- What is the value of the one-time bonus? A percentage of salary or a set dollar amount (similar to the teachers $2500 bonus)
- How is the bonus calculated?
- What is the budget impact of the increased compensation?
- What is the value of the one-time bonus?
- Where is the money for the increased compensation and bonuses coming from? (Is this how the District is using the $3.9 million surplus from 2011/12 that was announced in November 2012)
- What does the ‘adjustments to the base salary for the last 2-1/2 years’ mean? Is the salary increase to the administrators retroactive?
- The financial distribution to administrators is at the discretion of Dan Waters?
How is it that something so important as this compensation and bonus plan can just get thrown in on a consent agenda without discussion? Bottom line … where is the fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency to the public?