Niles schools chief to get $9,400 raise after a month

By Jordan Cohen


Mark Robinson, who becomes superintendent of schools effective Aug. 1, will receive a pay raise of $9,400 or 8.5 percent after only month on the job in addition to his base salary of $110,600.

Contract clauses also contain the possibility of additional significant pay increases depending on pending legislation in Columbus.

A review of Robinson’s contract by The Vindicator shows that as of Sept. 1, Robinson receives “incentive pay for achievement of goals” of 7.5 percent of his base compensation and that “such payment will be included … beginning with the month of September, 2011.” The goals, however, are not defined in the contract language.

In addition, Robinson, whom the board hired May 31, gets “ancillary responsibilities compensation” of 1 percent of his base pay due to work he will have to perform outside of normal business hours.

After Sept. 1, Robinson’s salary would jump to $120,000, one of the highest for a superintendent in Trumbull County.

The contract also contains two provisions pertaining to the superintendent’s Medicare and retirement contributions that could significantly raise Robinson’s salary:

If Ohio law is changed to prohibit board payment of the superintendent’s employee contribution to the State Teachers Retirement System, referred to as the “pick up,” the board will increase Robinson’s salary by 10 percent.

The same applies to the board’s payment of the superintendent’s contribution to Medicare of 1.45 percent. The contract states that if Ohio law also prohibits the Medicare pick up of the employee share, Robinson’s salary will be increased by 1.5 percent.

In an earlier interview, Marlene Rhodes, board president, said she believed the payment of the incentive pay “was still being negotiated” even though the contract has been signed by Rhodes, Treasurer Linda Molinaro and Robinson. Rhodes said the contract on behalf of the board was negotiated by Atty. Timothy Sheeran of the Cleveland law firm of Squire, Sanders and Dempsey.

Messages for Sheeran were not returned. Neither were calls to Robinson, who is completing his work as superintendent of Ashland City Schools. Several board members also did not respond to requests for comment from The Vindicator.

Robinson’s contract could impact the current contract talks between the district and its 180 teachers. “Mr. Robinson’s contract is a huge concern for the membership,” said Mary Ann McMahon, president of the Niles Classroom Teachers Association, the bargaining representative of the teachers. McMahon, however, said she did not want to discuss if Robinson’s contract might play a role in the teachers’ contract demands.

“All I can say is that we are working for a fair and equitable settlement,” McMahon said. The teachers’ contract expires Aug. 28.

Robinson’s contract was made available under Ohio’s Public Records Law as was the contract of Rocco Adduci whom Robinson succeeds. Adduci’s contract with a base salary of $91,860, more than $14,600 less than Robinson’s base, does not contain a goal achievement incentive or the ancillary responsibilities compensation. The board pays Adduci’s contributions to STRS and Medicare, but there is no clause to increase salary should the pick ups of both be prohibited, an issue that had not arisen in the state Legislature at the time Adduci’s contract was negotiated.

Adduci retires July 31.

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