As the residents here in Livingston County know, Howell's in the news again. This time over the dustup caused by the leaking of an email. I divided theses sections into three areas. Dumb, dumber, and dumbest.
Dumb - Vicki Fyke sent this email to three school board members. Wendy Day, Phil Westmoreland, and Dean Miller (known on the Argus storychat and Wendy's blog as "Puppet Watcher"). It listed some strategies that Vicki wanted considered to drive the super Chuck Breiner to resign so he would not have to be bought out of his contract if the board decides to fire him. I listed this under "dumb" for two reasons. 1. Based on the amount of legal knowledge I have off the top of my head(Disclaimer - I'm not an attorney nor have taken a labor law class), it is probably illegal if the board does this. 2. I do not understand why Vicki would send an extremely controversial email to Dean Miller who flat out despises her. There's nothing secret or confidential about emails. It's one reason I don't send a lot of them.
Dumber - Dean Miller was the individual who leaked the email to the press. There is no good reason for this email to have been leaked. Dean's reason was because Vicky was applying for the open seat on the board. It's a BS reason. Why? Because the board appoints replacements until the next election. There is no way Vicki would be appointed to the board by the current board. Sharing the emails with the rest of the board is appropiate, but sending this to the story was simply pushing to take a shot at an individual and give Howell some bad press. Sending the email was dumb, leaking it to the press was dumber.
Dumbest - How can anyone in a position of authority not read an employment contract before signing it? As the Detroit News states:
A firing could cost the district nearly $1 million because of a clause in the five-year contract terms that extends it annually unless the board takes action.
Breiner earns a $140,000 base salary with annual annuity and longevity compensation of $13,400, a $500 monthly car allowance, fully paid medical insurance and district-paid retirement contributions.
Another clause calls for a payout at termination that would give the superintendent the difference between his salary and his successor's during the first year.
"I think what that means is, if we hired someone at $170,000 and his salary is $140,000 we'd have to pay him $30,000," said Vice President Jeanine Pratt, the only member of the school board remaining from the 2005 board that approved the contract.
Although Pratt's signature is on the contract as the 2005 board secretary, she did not know about the clauses until two weeks ago, she said. A compensation committee made up of Dymond, Drazic and former board member Ted Parsons, along with legal counsel reviewed the contract and recommended approval, she said.
"I did not look at it and neither did anyone else, apparently. When I realized this two weeks ago, I couldn't believe it. I never had any reason to believe anyone would be dishonest with me."
"Do I feel horrible about it? You bet I do," she added.
Nobody on that entire board read the contract or discussed it? No attorney looked at it? Where's the oversight? There's dumb and dumber, but this is reserved for dumbest. It's not just Ms. Pratt there, but everybody involved with that contract. No wonder why Howell Schools are in so much controversy today.