Ypsilanti schools to propose new hire for assistant superintendent position
Ypsilanti school district administrators will recommend a candidateÂ at the next school board meetingÂ to fill the vacant assistant superintendent of educational quality position.
A vote on hiring Jennifer Martin, the current principal of Oak Park Preparatory Academy, was on the agenda at the April 26 board meeting, but was removed during agenda adjustments.
Several board members expressed concerns over her salary, the process by which she was selected and whether the district needs to hire an assistant superintendent. Administrators reviewed the selection with the board’s human resources committee Tuesday morning, and officials said they're confident the issues have been addressed.
John Fulton, executive director of human resources, said the district is eager to fill the position and hoped to approve the hire April 26. But several board members raised concerns, and the vote was delayed.
“We probably shouldn’t have put it on the agenda,” Fulton said.
After the last board meeting, trustees Sarah Devaney and Kira Berman said they had misgivings about Martin’s proposed salary at a time when employees were being laid off.
Martin’s proposed salary before the April 26 meeting was $115,000. Richard Weigel, who previously held the post, received $108,000 before being hired for the superintendent's post in Niles in February.
At a special board meeting in March, Trustee Andy Fanta questioned why the district was filling the position at an assistant superintendent’s level. He said Weigel was promoted from an executive director position to the assistant superintendent’s position so he would be more marketable as a superintendent.
Weigel didn't receive a pay raise to go with the promotion. District officials previously said the central office is undergoing changes, and the position is one they would like to keep.
Devaney and Berman also questioned why the district hadn't consulted the board’s human resources committee during the interview process. Devaney said she also would have liked to have the HR committee - made up of Trustee Floyd Brumfield, Board President David Bates and Vice-President Linda Horne - involved in the interview process for incoming Ypsilanti High Principal Justin Moore.
“I can’t imagine why that committee couldn’t review those decisions,” Devaney said.
“I think we need to better follow the process we set up.”
DevaneyÂ added she believes the committee reviewing the decision beforehand would have provided board members with more information, and perhaps prevented some the occasionally heated debate that occurred in public during the April 26 board meeting.
Fulton said no HR committee meeting was scheduled before the last board meeting, so the resolution to hire Martin was placed on the agenda. He said once concerns were voiced, administrators decided to postpone the vote.
“Some of the board members do have an issue with the salary in light of the fact that we’re laying people off, and I don’t blame them,” Fulton said.
The district has continued to negotiate with Martin on her salary, but Fulton declined to say whether she had agreed to a figure lower than $115,000.
Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for AnnArbor.com. Reach the news desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2530.