Greater Lowell Technical School Committee Chairman Victor Olson was upset at the proceedings at the last School Committee Meeting because of the public discussion about the Superintendents raise.
I wasn’t and am not in favor of negotiating one person’s raise in public unless you are doing it for Every person and Union. Fair is Fair. If you want to start with 1 individual then it should be made known and public months or at the very least weeks before.
However the question of whether this was indeed a negotiation is being called into question. My pal Jack Mitchell of Left in Lowell pointed out to me that the listed Agenda Item stated:
The purpose of the Executive Session, as stated in the Agenda was “… conducting contract negotiations with non-union personnel
He and I then exchanged thoughts on what exactly negotiations meant since my stance was it took more than 1 to negotiate and it appeared that the Superintendent never had a chance request a specific dollar amount or counter the 2% or any offer that was made. I said this was just an evaluation where the Committee chose a figure without the Supt. having any say.
Then our friend Lowell School Committee member Kim Scott supplied us more information on the Evaluation process and from what she provided I have to admit it looks like the “Evaluation” by law HAD TO BE DONE IN PUBLIC!
Here is what she supplied us:
Discussions of salary issues may only occur in executive session as part of a contract negotiation. See G.L. c.30A, s.21(a)(2), (3). Other discussions related to salary, such as a discussion about whether an employee’s job performance merits a bonus or salary increase, must be conducted in open session
That leaves open the question as to was this really a Negotiation or was it in fact a job performance review and the discussion related to a job performance merit increase?
So last Sunday while watching the Patriots blow the AFC Game I emailed Mr. Olson some questions:
Was Thursday’s item listed as “conducting contract negotiations with non-union personnel ” a real negotiation were one side gets to ask for an amount and the other side gets to counter and both sides then agree?
If so did the Supt. present a specific dollar request? Was she given the chance to? If not why not?
If NOT why was it listed as such? It is creating confusion in the public whether this was a real negotiation or an evaluation and action by the School committee.
The original contract was done in Executive session, to change or modify the contract doesn’t the Superintendent need to agree to a public negotiations? Was the Supt. asked and did she agree?
When she received her review last year wasn’t the dollar amount agreed to first in Executive session?
Also in the past years you have been a member has this process ever been done in public?
I eagerly await your response.
However Mr. Olson has chosen to NOT RESPOND to these questions. I also on behalf of Warren Shaw invited Mr. Olson via email this morning to join us on Saturday Morning Live tomorrow to talk about this issue. So far no response.
Maybe Sarah Favort and the Sun will have better luck asking and getting a response?
At the next meeting, I hope Mr. Boutin can ask for a clear explanation from the Chairman about why the motion was listed as negotiations when it appears to meet the standard of the Evaluation and it appears would have been a clear violation of the open meeting law to handle it behind closed doors.
He can also ask why the School Committee’s attorney would claim he has never seen it done? Was he referring to negotiations or evaluations?