Thursday, June 22, 2006

Weast wants sneak renewal of his $350,000 contract - before he gets the boot

Faced with the prospect of a freshly elected school board that might give him the boot, Superintendent Jerry Weast is pressing his cronies who stack the current board to expedite renewal of his personal employment contract.

His current contract - worth nearly $350,000 in salary and tax-sheltered retirement benefits - expires next year.

Weast is unlikely to get such a generous compensation in any other public sector job.

School board President Charles Haughey let it slip last month that Weast was negotiating a new contract. Weast thought he would retain the support of the majority of the board after the November 2006 elections until Haughey and another member, Gabe Romero, unexpectedly announced they were quitting. has learned that Weast is pressing for the school board to endorse him, and a premature renewal of his contract, at the board's meeting on Monday, June 26.

Such an action would violate the board's own precedent. Members such as Marilyn Praisner said in the past that it is wrong for a lame-duck board to make a decision that should be taken by a newly elected board.

The action would also reaffirm Inspector General Thomas Dagley's findings that Weast and the board push pet projects through the system without proper public review and due process.