Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is on a mission to weed out those who don't belong in the state retirement system. He has been targeting attorneys who have claimed to be employees of school districts when they really are outside contractors. Now, he is going after school administrators who retire from one job in the system and then take another, essentially double dipping off of taxpayers.
We think the Attorney General needs to go even further and begin a review of the contracts that school boards are giving administrators. Let's be honest. Most school board members don't know the first thing about negotiation while superintendents are specifically trained in this area since negotiating contracts with teachers is one of their main functions.
So it is any surprise that these superintendents are able to run circles around school board members when it comes to their own contract negotiations.
Much of this came to light when it turned out Dr. George, the retired super in North Tonawanda, walked away with a $200K pension, more than he earned during his time there. All the perks and bennys tacked on to his contract gave him additional pension credits that made him the second highest paid retiree in the system in ALL OF NYS!!!!
Since this story broke, we have been hearing from many people across Niagara County about perks given in their district, which include:
1) So-called Evergreen contracts that automatically give hefty raises without any board action which hides it from public scrutiny.
2) Hefty life insurance contracts, the premiums which are paid for by the district.
3) Lifetime health insurance for administrators and their spouses
4) Huge balloon payment bonuses at the end of the contract which boost pension payments
5) Huge payouts for accrued time which also boost pension payments.
6) Contract that automatically tack on a year on each year so if you have a five year contract each year you get another year so you ALWAYS have five years left on your contract. This means a huge payout if the district tries to fire you.
It's time for Cuomo to reign in these contracts. Maybe all these contracts should merit review by the AG and/or the State Comptroller. Taxpayers are being robbed blind and something needs to be done.