I’m NOT JOKING when I ask why this School Committee lead by this Mayor IS GIVING THIS SUPERINTENDENT A TERM DEFINE CONTRACT?
HERE ARE MY REASONS for NOT giving him a Term Defined Contract with built in Raises.
1) He has a contract – He even stated so last week on WCAP with Ted Panos on Dec 28th Listen for yourself at the 34:10 minute mark of the interview when the conversation about his contract starts and at the 38:20 mark where he states that it is required.
First he admits that his current MOU is in fact what he calls a simplified contract but then goes on to try to mislead people on a contract being state required.
Here is a copy of his contract Posted on the Lowell School Dept. Website Under Contracts (see above picture)
2)The constant amount of Misinformation especially regarding Financial Issues:
A) He announced on the Radio during the Interview that MASS State Law REQUIRED a Contract, yet the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education Says there is NO SUCH LAW !
:From: “Helene H Bettencourt (DOE)”
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2016 2:35:37 PM
Subject: RE: ESE Web Contact Us Form – Do Supt of School Require a contract
Hi Gerry, Massachusetts law states that the school committee “shall have the power to select and to terminate the superintendent” (Mass. Gen. Laws c. 71, s. 37) and that the school committee “shall employ a superintendent of schools and fix his compensation” (G.L. c. 71, s. 59). The school committee “may award a contract to a superintendent of schools… for periods not exceeding six years which may provide for the salary, fringe benefits, and other conditions of employment, including but not limited to, severance pay, relocation expenses, reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of duties or office, liability insurance, and leave for said superintendent…” (Mass. Gen. Laws c. 71, s. 41) Typically, the school committee and superintendent enter into a written employment contract, but state law does not mandate a written contract.
B) Another item mentioned by the SUPT. in the Interview was that the School Dept. reimburses the LRTA for the discounts given to Lowell students who take the LRTA buses. That is 100% INCORRECT
The School Dept. pays NOTHING to the LRTA for any reimbursement for transporting students. The Supt. states at the 44:44 mark in the interview that cost for the discounts to students comes out of Transportation cost but that is incorrect. Parents or students themselves pay for the card on a monthly basis.
C) In the Interview the Supt. claims the Schools finished with a $600,000 “SURPLUS” when in actuality his CFO shows in August what the School Dept really finished with
What he finished with was in fact an excess in the Circuit Breaker Account and by Law that goes back to the City, something this Supt. and CFO did NOT know in June when they used almost a million dollars in what was “free Cash” to purchase technology.
D) The multiple transfer fiasco’s associated with that transaction where in June the Supt charged $80,000 of his salary, $40K of the CFO’s salary and $30K of the HR Directors Salary to the to food service account so he could cut PO’s for what he decided was Computer / Technology needs without clearly explaining to the School Committee what he was doing?
Then the need to fix those transfers and then fix the fix so that the City could file end of year reports with DESE and put the School Dept. Budget back in line:
The following transfer is needed to correct an expenditure transfer that was approved at the August 17th School Committee meeting. The expenditure transfer below replaces the one approved earlier.
We will need two motions. One to undo the transfer made on August 17th referred to as expenditure transfer 1. The second motion needed is to approve the one shown below. The attachment provides the detail account numbers.
There is a transfer request on this week’s School Committee agenda that would reduce the $80,000 the Supt. charged of his salary to food service, reduce the $40K charge of the CFO’s salary to around $20K and the $30K he charged of the HR Directors Salary to $16K.
E) To prove my point further about the financial inexperience below is an email that Supt. Khelfaoui sent out statewide to fellow Superintendents in July 2016, one of who from outside the Merrimack Valley was kind enough to provide me with a copy.
From: Khelfaoui, Salah [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 3:12 PM
Subject: [Supers] An Accounting Question
Would you please share information on how your district deals with purchases when a purchase order was placed before June 30, 2016 (FY2016) but the invoice is not received until sometimes in July 2017 (FY2017).
Are you able to charge the purchase to FY16?
Do you have to charge the purchase to FY17?
[LPSD Logo] Salah E. Khelfaoui, Ph.D. | Superintendent of Schools
Lowell Public Schools Central Administration Offices Bon Marché Building, 155 Merrimack Street – Lowell, MA 01852
Phone: 978.674.4324 | Email: email@example.com
3) We just found out that the Superintendent apparently held back information from the School Committee in regards to a grievance filed by the LSAA Union over moving the FREE PARKING location of the School Administration
Committee members also expressed dismay that the issue wasn’t flagged to their attention or resolved before it ended up before the state Department of Labor in the form of a grievance filed Dec. 23. The issue dates back to Aug. 23, when members of the Lowell School Association met with Schools Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui.
4) His ARROGANCE – “The beauty of me in all of this is you can go ahead and fire me any time you want. I’m ready to retire, so I don’t really care about any of the politics.”
5) Based on his current CONTRACT he was just renewed through June of 2018. IF in fact the language of the new contract (Which has NOT been made Public on any Website) gives him 3 years from 2016/2017 school year then any NEW SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBERS elected this November will be forced to honor that contract through June of 2019, if for some reason they start the contract for the 2017/2018 school year the new Committee would be stuck through June of 2020.
That is unfair, these members could delay a vote (Remember how they did so and shafted Jean Franco after agreeing to a 2 year deal with her) until after the November election and if they choose before Dec 1st 2017, if a Majority are re-elected and wish to give him a term contract give him 1 year retro for the 2016/2017 School year and then the next 2 to cover their new term.
6)Mayors revenge costly to taxpayers
The Sun Political Column points out that the Mayor may call a Special Meeting to give the Supt. of Schools a 3 year contract with a 2.5% salary increase built-in. He tries to justify it be saying he believes it will lead to School Department stability, better performing schools and higher property values.
He said more schools are moving toward Level 1, and more recently Khelfaoui delivered a strategic plan.
What he has ignored is the fiscal ineptness, not understanding Mass Law on Circuit breaker money and having to postpone budget hearings and only televising one budget meeting live after a School committee meeting or manipulating the budget charging $80,000 of the Supt. salary to food service only so the School Dept could make a cash grab to avoid returning Free Cash to the City side of the budget. An accounting nightmare that resulted in two months of unraveling that has contributed to the delay in the Certification of Free Cash since it had to be fixed before end of year reports could be submitted to the state DOR.
I expect the Supt and his Administration will be forced by outside auditors to remove any of his salary being charged against the food service account and that an audit will point out the shoddy practices we saw at the end of the last fiscal year by the School Dept.
What Kennedy is really doing according to many in the political bubble is extracting revenge against City Manager Murphy and Councilor Elliott for not supporting Kennedy for Mayor has promised when Kennedy supported Murphy for Manager.
Kennedy was furious! Remember in his inauguration speech he singled out Bill Samaras, Dan Rourke, Jim Milinazzo and John Leahy for qualities they have brought to the Council of the last term and then lumped Mercier, Elliott and Belanger together and thank them for also contributing.
He won’t support a contract for the Manager but now wants one for a Supt. who doesn’t get along with the Manager and refuses to work with the Administration and now we found out he kept information about a grievance from the School Committee.