Sunday, November 04, 2007

Note to all board members across the country - READ contracts

Utterly amazing article in the Argus. You would think that a school board with a then insurance company business owner would be going over any contracts, right?

But his contract is missing a provision that is included in almost every other superintendent's contract in Michigan. Breiner's contract does not have a "just cause" clause, which allows a district to fire a superintendent for good reason without incurring additional financial responsibility.

All of the other five superintendentsin the county have such a clause. Breiner, superintendent since 1999, used to have such a clause in his contract but it was removed about five years ago. Neither board members at the time nor school administrators have explained how or why that occurred.

Without that clause, some board members say removing Breiner — who has come under criticism from some of those same people recently — could require honoring the remainder of his contract. That could add up to $800,000.

I can tell you why that occured. There are two possible scenarios. One, they all missed it due to failure to read or read carefully the contract. Two, it was intentional and was one of the prices in the bidding war a few years back to keep Mr. Breiner. Now there are different opinions on Breiner within the county, but I'm not going to comment on that in this article. I don't care if the Super was Joe Perfect. The problem here is bad judgment when it comes to basic contracts, especially when you are dealing with almost a million dollars when all is said and done. That's some serious money. I can't blame him for accepting that deal. I'd accept a deal like that as well.

Now considering there are lawyers involved, I'd suspect the lawyers as part of their fidiciary duty advised their clients (the school district, represented by the board) what was in the contract and gave them all copies of it.

The good news is that most of the board that approved this is gone. I hope the current board does some detailed review of their contracts for obvious reasons.

1 comment:

Chet said...

Are any of the board members still left?

This would be a good use of the recall process - recall anyone on the board that approved the contract. Just as a matter of principle.