Pinellas approves high-level DROP rehires
Lost in all the discussion of school start times and principal changes in the last week were a series of Pinellas County School Board decisions that allowed superintendent Julie Janssen to rehire six top administrators, despite the fact that they've reached the five-year limit after enrolling in state's deferred retirement program.
School board member Robin Wikle was the only board member to vote against the DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Program) rehires, saying that she feels the practice of rehiring highly-paid employees who have reached the point of retirement is not only a financial concern but that it's detrimental to the process of training new talent, discouraging other qualified employees from seeking more responsibility.
Those rehired were:
* Catherine Fleeger, deputy superintendent and chief academic officer. According to information Janssen gave the board, Fleeger will stay on for a semester with the new title of "associate superintendent, curriculum and instruction." In her role, she will maintain her current responsibilities, while helping successor Rita Vasquez become familiar with the position. Vasquez, in the meantime, has been charged with helping the four high schools under state oversight: Gibbs, Dixie Hollins, Boca Ciega and Lakewood. Fleeger made $122,712 in 2009-10, but will be staying on a lower salary of $114,452 in 2010-11.
* Barbara Thornton, associate superintendent of secondary schools. Though the district's regional administration is being redesigned, Thornton "is the only regional superintendent with the knowledge and experience to assist with this transition," Janssen wrote in an explanation to the board. Janssen plans to keep Thornton for one more semester through Jan. 21, 2011 at a salary of $105,974, lower than the $114,452 she made this past year. Her new title will be "assistant superintendent, region office."
* Leonard Krysko, director of facilities and operations business management. According to information Janssen gave the board, Krysko is focused on putting "processes in place to control overspending and to increase oversight of all purchases of goods and services." His salary was $74,272. He will be getting $75,386 with the new 1.5 percent raise all school board employees are getting in 2010-11.
* Harriet Konstantinis, director of human resources. When the district merged the professional development department in with the human resources, Janssen says she lost two key people to retirement and didn't replace one. Konstinides has helped with the transition and is helping train others, Janssen wrote in a document given to the school board. Konstinides made $84,126 and will make $85,388 with the 1.5 percent raise.
* Allen Mortimer, director of planning and policy. Mortimer has been working on the overhaul of the district's policy manual. He is training Nicole Carr, senior coordinator of differentiated accountability, to take over his responsibilities. She is expected to assume Mortimer's role at the end of this year. Mortimer made $84,126 this past year and will make $85,388 in the coming year.
* Clayton Snare, administrator on assignment with the Centers of Excellence. He is expected to be replaced by Joni Jonas, assistant administrator on district assignment, at the end of the year. Snare made $84,126 this past year and will make $85,388 in the coming year.