Commentary on Contract Misstep
The selection process was air-tight, supposedly to avoid the problem of political interference. Even when the candidate pool went from around 30 to 5, then 3 and one finalist selected by the board, the public did not learn of the outcome until the last moment. As I recall, one board member protested the hiring of Dr. Steve Gallon III in February before all contract details were finalized.
The many shifts in leadership roles since last June could provide the current leaders with an alibi, but not an excuse if the contract terms contravene state guidelines or challenge the judgment of Union County’s executive superintendent.
My observation over the past 25 years is that top school administrators expect the best in salary and perks and each time there is a transition, districts have to top their own acts. The benefits are bad enough, but the perks beat all. The culture of top school administrators is one of up-staging the last person, in my opinion.
“Upward and onward” seems to be the motto of school superintendent contract talks. But in these times, can taxpayers support this model?
Plainfield’s situation will no doubt be resolved and Dr. Gallon will be able to begin his four-year stint as chief school administrator on July 1. The contract glitch most likely will serve as a reminder of the importance of fiscal accountability in Abbott districts, as well as the need to work closely with the county executive superintendent. It may also an indication that legal counsel for the district, already under a cloud over circumstances around the hiring of former Interim Superintendent Peter Carter, has some explaining to do to the board.
The board meets June 10 for work and study, with a business meeting June 17. Times and locations are not yet posted on the district web site, but for many reasons besides this latest headline grabber, Plainfielders need to attend and keep watch as the 2007-08 school year ends and early decisions are made for the 2008-09 school year.