Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 20, 2013

Raises off the table at Niagara-Wheatfield?

Niagara Gazette — When the Niagara-Wheatfield School Board meets tonight, there's bound to be money talks.

At its Aug. 7 meeting, the seven-member group tabled a personnel vote which would have granted raises of either 2 percent or 3.7 percent to six managerial employees had it been approved.

The matter is back on the agenda, providing a tricky circumstance for board members to deal with. The raises are based on a policy, not a contract with the listed employees, and is entirely at the board's discretion.

"The main problem I have with it isn't that it's giving a raise," board President Steve Sabo said. "It's that those positions shouldn't be tied into our policy manual. They should have an employment agreement with the district, which lays out salary, vacation, what the benefits are. Instead, there isn't one."

Head bus driver Cheryl Taylor, part-time head bus driver Leslie Buczkowski and Accountant Marjorie Strobel would receive 3.7 percent increases, while Facilities Manager Delbert Ambrosia and school lunch director Domenico Barile would see 2 percent increases.

District Treasurer Ashley Wood, who resigned her position July 19 for a teaching job outside Niagara-Wheatfield, would receive a prorated increase for the time between July 1 and her final day.

Filling the treasurer position, along with the much-needed business manager opening, would be greatly assisted by the approval of the raises, Sabo said. He said attracting talent to work for the district would be easier if it demonstrates a willingness to pay.

"People don't realize this, but the same policy includes the business manager position," he said. "(Former business manager) Kerin (Dumphrey) just happened to be given a special agreement by (former Superintendent) Carl Militello, which detailed everything for him and gave him automatic raises, but the position is in that section of the policy manual."

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