The School Committee has approved a final payment to former Supt. Fred Foresteire for unused vacation days, estimated at around $250,000, and the City is in the process of making that payment to him this week.
The payment is the second payment of around $450,000 that the School Committee said it owed Foresteire for unused vacation time – a stipulation in his contract that allowed him to rollover unused vacation days and also a stipulation that some Committee members have said they now greatly regret.
Last Tuesday, the Committee voted to approve the final payment to Foresteire, which had been scheduled and accounted for in the current budget.
City officials said they would be processing the payment on Thursday, but an exact amount was not specified. It is estimated to be around $250,000 as Foresteire already received approximately $200,000 last year.
Earlier this month, School Committeeman Bernie D’Onofrio moved to have the payment analyzed by School Committee Attorney Robert Galvin. The matter went into the Legal Committee for study.
However, Chair Tom Abruzzese said Foresteire’s attorney, Frank Mondano, indicated that they wished to have their money immediately. They also said that if the Committee didn’t pay, they could be on the hook for triple damages, Abruzzese said.
“As upset as I am about this, we’ve already agreed to pay this,” he said. “It’s in the budget. We tried to put it in the Legal Committee to be reviewed and we got a call from Attorney Frank Mondano that they wanted the money. He said if we do not pay, we would be subject to triple damages, which means we’d be open to paying triple the amount plus attorney fees. You have to swallow hard in a situation like this and move on.”
He also stipulated that the payment was in the current budget as a line item and was planned by the Committee. He specified that everyone on the Committee approved that Budget, as did the City Council.
“Not only did every School Committee member approve it, but the budget went before the City Council and no one questioned that either,” he said. “I know some want to deflect now, but everyone is aware of it and everyone approved it.”
Foresteire’s payment is expected to be fully paid by the end of this week.