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VICTORY: Administrative Posting Pulled as Reported by the Dominion Post

(Front page of Dominion Post Sunday paper 2-06-2011)
 
Mon BOE nixes job posting


Teacher’s union protested listing


BY JIM BISSETT
The Dominion Post


   A job listing for a new administrator in Monongalia County Schools was yanked last week — after a local teacher’s union questioned the validity of the position and the timing of its offering, since layoffs are looming for 70 teachers and other employees in the months ahead.
   The job description of the newly created Director of Ancillary Services post included everything from handling the paperwork for workers’ compensation claims to overseeing maintenance contracts for copiers used across the district.
   School safety and the monitoring of finances for a variety of after-school programs were also on the list of duties for the new position that was listed Jan. 26.
   Sam Brunett, a Morgantown High School art teacher and president of the county chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, called the posting “another bale of hay on this camel’s back,” as he fired off a letter to Superintendent Frank Devono to complain.
   The district, he said, is already “top-heavy” with administrators. The new director, Brunett said, would have felt right at home in the board’s Central Office on South High Street.
   That’s because there are currently eight other directors in the building, he said, to go along with two assistant superintendents, nine program coordinators and 26 curriculum coaches.
   The union, he said, also took offense at the timing of the posting. It came three weeks after the district announced that 70 teachers and other employees were being placed on the reduction-in-force (RIF) list for the coming year.
   RIF is the annual process through which school districts can lay off or transfer employees based on current class rolls and projected kindergarten enrollment totals for the coming year.
   “That’s a slap in the face to 70 people,” Brunett said, Friday. “We’re talking about their livelihoods here.”
   Taxpayer dollars, too, he said. Devono didn’t give a salary for the job. It was negotiable and based on a degree and experience, he said.
   Administrators in the board’s Central Office, though, Brunett said, generally make between $80,000-$90,000.
   After Brunett’s letter, Devono said the RIF quandary was one of the things he reconsidered when he made the decision to pull the job. In the past, he said, most county employees who make the RIF list get hired back.
   On Friday, he said he would wait and see how the RIF rippled this year before deciding whether or not to re-post the job.
   “We’ll see what happens with the other jobs,” he said.
   Devono did disagree with Brunett’s assessment of the central office. A professional may work outside of the classroom, he said, but that doesn’t mean he or she is any less involved with education of the county’s young people.
   “We have academic coaches, technology specialists,” he said. “If I thought we were ‘top-heavy,’ we never would have posted the job.”