After conducting my phone interview with Democratic Common Councilman Tom Saadi, I think it's fair to say that the Minority Leader is a bit upset.
For months, Saadi has been calling upon school administrators to give back some of the salary increases they've received as part of an arbitrated settlement between school administrators and the city. What prompted this request was the revelation by Saadi, during at meeting in Feb., that two middle school principals were receiving a nice percent pay increase while the city was requesting teachers to give cutbacks in order to help with the city's budget.
For those who haven't been following the story, a little background is in order...from my post on Feb 26 2009:
I've received a GREAT amount of emails from residents and teachers who are alarmed (and pissed off) to find out that two principals (Broadview and Roger's Park Middle School) are scheduled to receive a NINE percent raise while teachers are scheduled to be laid off under their contract that was approved by the Board of Education but later rejected by the Common Council. Many whom I talked to were stunned to learn about this information and wonder how something like this could happen in this current economic climate (NOTE: The Board of Education (BOE) voted against the administration contract).
ONLY for the purpose of this post, I will stick to the revelation of the raise by Minority Leader Tom Saadi during last week's meeting as opposed to getting into the details/origins of the pay increase (at this time). Here's video footage of what transpired between Saadi, Danbury School Finance Director Elio Longo and BOE chairwoman Susan Podhajski when he brought this topic up. For point of reference, take note of President Joe Cavo's attempt to block Saadi from addressing this issue as well as the reaction from the those in attendance.
NOTE: Here's a copy of the salary spreadsheet that's being referenced by Minority Leader Saadi (click to enlarge). The principals in question (Broadview and Rogers Park Middle School) are circled and their scheduled pay increases are written on the right hand side of the spreadsheet (click to enlarge).
Last Thursday, during my interview with Minority Leader Saadi on local access TV, the matter of the pay increase came up...
As Saadi stated, just because someone gives you a mind-blowing nine percent raise, doesn't mean that you have to accept a NINE percent raise. Hopefully the principals of Broadview and Rogers Park Middle school will do the right thing and only take a rate of increase that makes sense.
Everyone up to date...good, lets continue.
In light of the school administrative salary increases, which were releaved in Feb., Saadi suggested that, in a show of good faith, school administrators follow the lead of teachers and also provide givebacks to the city. For months, at the end of the Common Council meetings, Saadi has been requesting School Superintendent Sal Pascarella for an update regarding giveback school administators...with no success.
Then this week, the revelation of the school board's trip to Arizona to interview a candidate for the high school came to light...and the level of outrage from Saadi and others went through the roof.
From today, here's my interview with Saadi in which he expresses his displeasure with the entire situation.
...lets just say that this story is far from over.