Friday, January 28, 2011

Bill for Ex-Superintendent's Retirement Package at $1.15 Million and Rising; Will Wayne Township School Board Members Resign?

Over at Channel 6, Kara Kenney continues with her excellent reporting on former Wayne Township Terry Thompson's generous retirement package. Kenney was the first reporter in town to report the generous provisions of the contract.

The reported cost of Thompson's retirement package to taxpayers continues to increase. Thompson received $800,000 in severance pay, $15,000 for retirement planning, and more than $1,300 a day for seven months (which by my calculations totals abut $270,000) for Thompson acting as "superintendent emeritus." Kenney now also reports that Thompson received a $35,000 early retirement incentive payment that others in the district received. Apparently the $1.15 million retirement package of Thompson's was not a sufficient enough incentive for the Wayne Township School Board. (Sarcasm intended.)

Of course the Wayne Township School Board members' defense is that they were simply negligent in failing to actually read Thompson's revised contract when they approved it in 2007. School board members have asked that Thompson resign his superintendent emeritus status and return the money. Kenney reports that Wayne Township voters are now asking that others resign - namely the school board members who demonstrated an incredible lack of diligence in doing their jobs.

Kenney reports that the Wayne Township administration's spokesperson has answered those taxpayers saying that no school board members plan to resign. A spokesperson for the school administration has no business speaking for school board members. . The school board is separate from the administration and is supposed to be a check on it. (Remember "checks and balances" from high school civics? That also applies to the operation of school districts).

Kenney is also asking questions about the administration's attorney, Jon Bailey of Bose McKinney and Evans. This reveals another problem. But the administration's attorney is not the school board's attorney and has no ethical duty to the board. (Again, separation of powers.) Bailey represents the administration, including chiefly the superintendent.

Legislators in the General Assembly don't rely on Governor Daniels' attorneys for legal advice. Rather each legislative chamber has its own attorneys whose ethical duty is to their respective chamber not to Governor Daniels. Likewise school boards need to have their own attorneys they can consult to from time to time. Relying on the administration's attorney for objective and honest legal advice on matters involving the administration, is extremely foolish.

Thankfully there are reporters out there like Kenney who are keeping a watch on our tax dollars. Clearly our elected representatives are falling down on the job.

Pictured: At top is former Superintendent Terry Thompson. At the bottom is the Wayne Township School Board.


Diana Vice said...

Bose McKinney & Evans is the same law firm that spendthrift Jim Mervilde uses at Washington Township.

Anonymous said...

Paul I believe you are wrong on the attorney. Attorneys are hired by school boards who run the school system. They also hire superintendents who serve at the boards will. It is not uncommon to see an attorney at a school board meeting offering interpretations and or legal advice to the board in certain situations. The attorney is retained by the board representing the corporation and can be dismissed at their will. The Superintendent is an adviser and is subject to the will of the board since they hire him and can fire him. Hope this helps.

Downtown Indy said...

Where were these board members educated? Or were they?

M Theory said...

The news of his retirement package made Drudge Headline last week.

Unknown said...
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