Contract Matters Administrators’ Pacts have Vacation, Sick Time Accumulation

Two recent contracts for Everett Public School administrators have similar unprecedented, unlimited vacation and sick time accumulation that were contained in former Supt. Fred Foresteire’s contract – stipulations that several School Committee members condemned only a few weeks ago.

Contracts for Assistant Supt. Kevin Shaw (approved this past March 4) and Assistant Supt. Charlie Obremski (approved in 2015) both include those very same stipulations allowing them to accumulate vacation and sick days year after year.

That same stipulation has now cost the Everett Public Schools more than $400,000 over the last two years as Foresteire has moved to redeem those days for cash.

School Committee Chair Tom Abruzzese said when Foresteire’s issue came up last year, he said former School Committee Attorney Spencer Tobin indicated there was only one other contract with such stipulations – and that one was for the late Lona DeFeo.

“When it was presented to us at the time the superintendent brought this up a year ago in May, I specifically asked if there was anywhere else in the School Department where we were going to find this situation,” he said. “I was told by then-Counsel Attorney Tobin that the only person was Lona DeFeo. She has passed away since then. Kevin Shaw did get an extension, but my understanding is he doesn’t have a lot of time…That can’t go forward. My understanding is he didn’t have that many vacation days…Charlie is a person that takes vacation. I would assume, and it might be to my detriment, those vacation days won’t be an issue…It’s obviously nothing like former Supt. Foresteire.”

School Committee member Frank Parker, who was chair when Obremski’s contract was approved, said he wasn’t as concerned about these two contracts.

“These are the only two contracts; this was not part of Mrs. Gauthier’s interim superintendent contract,” he said. “Am I concerned about it – no. We’re talking two different people – guys that take vacation with their families. These are three-year contracts and they don’t have that evergreen rollover like the former superintendent did. We were in a unique situation with this gentleman (Foresteire) that didn’t utilize his vacation time.”

He said in doing some research, he learned that a similar thing happened in the Randolph Public Schools, where a former superintendent was able to leave with $575,000 in vacation buy-back.

“The next superintendent will not have an evergreen clause in his or her contract,” he said. “It will be 2019 language and not 1989 language.”

In Obremski’s 2015 contract, he was given 25 vacation days per year, and those days can be rolled over year after year and then redeemed for cash – just as Foresteire did.

“Upon retirement, resignation or death, the Assistant Superintendent of Business Affairs and Pupil Personnel Services, or his estate, will be paid for unused vacation days at the per diem rate then in effect,” read the contract.

It wasn’t certain by press time how many days Obremski had accumulated in his career – as the City was still working to calculate that information.

That contract, however, came well before the costly situation with Foresteire was revealed last year.

The contract with Shaw was just approved in March of this year, and it does also include the ability to accumulate vacation and sick days. That luxury, however, is stipulated to end with Shaw’s current contract in 2022.

“The Committee and the Assistant Superintendent agree that the ability to accumulate unused vacation days without the approval of the Committee will not be incorporated into any future agreements or extensions and will end at the conclusion of the term of this agreement,” read Shaw’s contract.

Obremski’s contract runs through June 30, 2022 – a five-year deal.

Shaw’s contract is a three-year deal that also expires on June 30, 2022.

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