Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Longmeadow Town Bylaw

A revised version of the Longmeadow's General Bylaws including amendments approved at the 2010 Annual Town Meeting and approved by the Massachusetts Attorney General is now available for review on the town website (click here to view). 

One of the new amendments (Article 2- Chapter 3) which was on the 2010 ATM warrant by voter petition and championed by town resident Joe Occhiuti is shown below:

2-320. Contract Negotiations.
All current and future negotiated labor contracts shall be announced in our local newspaper(s) no later than two weeks of said settlement. A hard copy of all negotiated labor contracts shall be deposited in their entirety at Storrs Library.

In this morning's Springfield Republican there was a business article about the contract for Amherst's new Town Manager including compensation details.

Click here to read the full newspaper article.

This new town bylaw would require the Town of Longmeadow to publish details of all negotiated labor contracts as they are approved.  Hopefully, this would include contracts for the new School Superintendent, Town Manager, etc as well as Longmeadow Teachers contract, etc.

The new bylaw states that all current contracts should be deposited for public view at Storrs Library as well.

One employee contract of interest is that for the new School Superintendent. 

On May 11 town voters at the Annual Town Meeting approved the FY11 School Department budget (dated 2/22/10) which included a Superintendent salary of $135,000- a 9% increase from the FY10 Superintendent salary of $123,600. 

On June 14 the School Committee (see meeting minutes) approved a revised FY11 budget with the Superintendent's salary set at $155,000- a 25.4% increase over FY10.  With the current Longmeadow teacher's contract set at a 0% COLA for the next two years, a 25.4% increase seems a bit too much- particularly given the "as advertised" credentials and experience of the new superintendent.

According to School Committee meeting minutes (February 22, 2010) Marie Doyle had accepted the town's offer of employment as Longmeadow School Superintendent pending successful contract negotiations.  In a March 22 SC executive session, a contract proposal was discussed and approved in open session for presentation to Ms. Doyle (see meeting minutes) and execution by Chairperson Mary Vogel.  However, I could not find any SC minutes for subsequent meetings documenting whether or not the contract was accepted by Ms. Doyle and there was no mention of additional negotiations.

Question: When was the new School Superintendent's salary finalized?

For most people who followed the FY11 budget process, the Superintendent's salary for FY11 was $135,000 since this was in the budget information provided to town voters at the ATM and it appeared (though not reported on the School Department website or by local newspapers) that the School Superintendent had been hired prior to the ATM. 

This is a mute question since Massachusetts state law requires the town voters and ATM to approve a total school budget only- not line by line. The SC is certainly within their authority to line shift the dollars to increase the Superintendent's salary (which they apparently did at their June 14 meeting).

I may be all wrong in my thinking.... so adding a copy of the current Superintendent's Contract to Storrs Library will restore my confidence that the development of our budgets (town government + schools) are done in an open and transparent manner. 

Based upon implementation of the new town bylaw I expect that all negotiated labor contracts (which I assume means Town Manager, Longmeadow Teachers, etc., Police, Fire....) will be made public "in their entirety" at Storrs Library in the very near future.

Thank you Joe Occhiuti!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How can the School Committee justify such an "underhanded" final contract increase of $155,000 plus other benefits, to a new Superintendent with less than enviable credentials? When can taxpayers get a specific answer? We pay the bills and have elected you as representatives. We are not the "insubordinate volunteers" which you have discarded.

This "labor" agreement should be available to all residents for review, to reflect it's absurdity in this or any economy.

G.A. Nolet