UPDATE 6/30: Niles' money in line; silence is the problem
by Todd Franko | 340 entries
An article in the Ashland Times Gazette about new Niles school superintendent Mark Robinson's retirement from that city’s school district offers some insight into his new job here in Niles.
The Niles school board has been silent this week about Robinson’s unique contract, which pays him substantially more than outgoing superintendent Rocco Adduci, and also earned him a $9,400 pay raise before he event started.
Here are the tidbits from Ashland:
• The Niles City Schools is 2,700 students — smaller than Ashland, which numbers about 3,200.
• Robinson will earn $110,600 a year in Niles. At Ashland, his base salary was $115,000.
So, his initial pay was less than what he was making at Ashland, but it was also a smaller district. But his pay raise will put him over his Ashland salary.
Note that all the salaries in play here are in the range of comparable sized districts.
Adduci was the low guy by several thousand; Robinson’s original is in the midrange; his new salary is at the top.
• At the Niles school board’s request, he will opt not to draw from his retirement benefits, though he is eligible through the State Teachers Retirement System.
“They suggested I not retire and rehire. I told them I appreciated that that’s the way they felt and decided to go that way. I’m more interested in finding a place where I fit well,” Robinson said.
So, Niles showed some savvy with public perception by discouraging the retire/rehire action.
• Robinson was hired at Ashland in 2008 and announced his intentions to retire his post in late January of this year. Beneath his decision to retire was the issue of his residency — for economic and family reasons, he chose to remain in his Brecksville home. While there was no residency requirement in his contract, the Ashland board did on several occasions express interest in him moving to the district.
Though Niles and Ashland are equidistant from Brecksville — both are exactly 51 miles from his home, he said — Robinson will, at least in the interim, remain in Brecksville. His new school board has imposed no residency requirements.
Where he lives shouldn’t bother taxpayers as much as it does in some places. It’s about how he does his job. If Niles squabbles about him not paying taxes into the fund that pays him, then put in the already quirky contract that he’ll donate $1,000 to academic clubs.
But the school board is best to come clean at tonight’s board meeting.
It’s actions weren’t entirely out of line. But they should justify why they would disgrace one superintendent’s frugality when it came to his pay by offering top dollar to another guy.
ORIGINAL POST FROM 6/29:
Some people are looking at SB5 as the tool to get Ohio’s public employees wages and benefits back in line with the economy.
Well how the hell do you believe that when you see what elected officials in Niles just paid to their new school superintendent?
Out-of-control public wages is not exclusive to union clout.
As The Vindy has pointed out in many ways: Excessive public wages and perks is a systemic problem in public service — right up to the top offices.
Read reporter Jordan Cohen’s two Niles stories here:
This will come back to bite them -- and the new boss -- quickly.
More shameful than the contract is the hiding the school board is now doing. It's already a long schol year for next year.
There is a good chance that this salary is now the going rate for this level of school district and that any new hire was going to command this. Perhaps the outgoing superintendent's salary was too low due to his kindness and loyalty and blah, blah, blah.
That said, then the board should address those issues and explain.
Getting into such an expensive and quirky contract -- and then hiding -- is a tactic similar to Coach Tressel's "shake and bake" -- and it didn't work for him.
The only one talking is the old superintendent — and he's not talking nice.