A divided Frontier School Board has left in question just what the current base salary is for one of the district’s assistant superintendents.
In limbo is the amount of pay for Myra Pinker, assistant superintendent for personnel, whose current base salary had been set at $115,047 - effective this past February.
The board this week failed to formally approve her current base salary level when it deadlocked in a 3-3 vote on the issue. Board member Thomas Best Jr. abstained, noting that he was not a board member when the initial memorandum of understanding regarding Pinker’s merit pay and salary were hammered out last year.
The issue came up at the start of the board’s meeting. Its history dates to July 2012 when James C. Bodziak was still superintendent.
At the root of it is a memorandum of understanding that had been executed between the district and Pinker on July 11, 2012.
Beginning in July 2012, Pinker was given additional responsibilities - overseeing attendance for all district employees and handling all personnel matters related to buildings and grounds, transportation and food service.
As a result of the additional work, Pinker received a $3,500 salary increase - putting her salary at $111,547. Additionally, Pinker also had the opportunity to earn up to $3,500 in merit pay during the 2012-13 school year, based on her performance with the additional responsibilities. Any additional merit pay would have been determined by this past Feb. 1 by Bodziak.
In a memo this past Jan. 30, Bodziak decided to increase Pinker’s salary by $3,500 tied to her performance indicated in the memorandum of understanding.
In the end, pay increases totaling $7,000 would be added to her base salary - putting it at $115,047. Bodziak had signed off on that, and the School Board this week was asked to formalize Pinker’s current base salary at that level.
It was clear on Tuesday that the board minority - comprised of Larry Albert, Lynne M. Szalkowski and Jack Chiappone - were opposed to Pinker’s salary arrangement and merit raises, with the bloc voting against the resolution. Supporting the measure were Board President Janet MacGregor Plarr, Martin Lalka and Patrick Boyle.
Pinker declined to comment afterward, but Plarr later called it “unfortunate” and said some of her board colleagues have “short-term memories.”
In a later interview, Interim Superintendent Paul G. Hashem vowed to get the matter resolved for Pinker and bring it back to the board for another vote at its Nov. 5 meeting. He said wording would be clarified on the second $3,500 amount and that it was attached to her base salary.
Albert afterward said the first $3,500 pay raise was clear, but that the second one was not specific in its wording and that it would be directly attached to Pinker’s base salary. “We have to follow the contract. We have some issues,” he said.
Hashem said wording will be modified. “Some language is fuzzy in terms of the second $3,500, and some questioned the intent,” he said. “I will modify the memorandum of agreement so it is more specific. I will figure out a way to work it out. Right now, it’s in limbo.”
When Albert was asked afterward if he would support the modified wording, he said: “I guess I would have to go with [Hashem’s] recommendation.”
Szalkowski also said she would agree to change her position if the language in Pinker’s salary memorandum were modified.
Asked why Pinker’s salary terms and merit pay were even being voted upon well after Feb. 1, the date they took effect, Hashem said it came up with an internal auditor. “I have three written documents from Jim Bodziak that the intention was that the (second) $3,500 goes on the base salary,” Hashem said Thursday. “I will clarify it.”