Johnson Unsure If She Will Take Salary Increase
By: Mary Stanley
With municipal unions and the town’s department heads, including Town Manager George H. Dunham and Assistant Town Manager Douglas A. Lapp, all agreeing to forego salary increases for a second consecutive year, Superintendent of Schools Mary Ellen Johnson said this week that she has not decided yet if she will accept her contractual pay raise in the coming fiscal year.
At Wednesday night’s school committee meeting, board member S. Aleta Barton said she has been hearing misinformation from the public about Dr. Johnson taking a salary increase and wanted to set the record straight. Ms. Barton reminded the public that Dr. Johnson took no salary increase this year. “She was a leader,” Ms. Barton said. Dr. Johnson announced last year that she would forego her salary increase for Fiscal Year 2010 after town department heads and unions made their announcements.
Ms. Barton did not elaborate on whether the superintendent would receive a salary increase for the upcoming year.
In an interview after the meeting, when asked whether she, too, will forego a salary increase in Fiscal Year 2011, Dr. Johnson said “no decision has been made yet.”
Although the superintendent agreed not to take a salary increase for the current year, in August she bought back 15 unused vacation days, which totaled $10,364. The vacation days were accrued in Fiscal Year 2009, which covers the period of July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009. “I was doing the job of two people during that time,” she said. Dr. Johnson said she only used 15 of the 30 vacation days allowed by her contract with the town.
Dr. Johnson said she exercised a provision in her contract that allows her to cash in her unused vacation time at the end of the year. For calendar year 2009, Dr. Johnson earned a salary of $151,999.90, which combined with her unused vacation time, totaled $162,363.54.
According to Mr. Dunham, there are no contracts on the municipal side that have provisions to buy back vacation time at the end of a fiscal year.
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