PLEASANTVILLE — The state monitor for the Pleasantville school district has overturned the school board’s attempt to non-renew five employees.
In a four-page letter dated June 14, monitor Constance Bauer outlined why each employee was reinstated. The affected employees are Facilities Coordinator William “Speedy” Marsh, Transportation Director Marionette Todd, Director of Athletics and Co-Curricular Activities Derrick Carrington, junior computer technician George Condry and security guard Michael Bright.
In most cases Bauer said there was insufficient evidence to show why the five should not be renewed. She wrote that her decisions were made “in light of available documentation,” and noted that when non-renewal is being considered, the employee should be notified in writing.
She recommended that the district develop a more efficient system for performance benchmarks and establish a process to document when performance concerns could lead to non-renewal.
School board President Carla Thomas did not return a call for comment. School board Member Tony Davenport said he agreed with the monitor’s decisions only because it would likely save the district unnecessary lawsuits. He said he has no problem terminating people for cause as long as the process is done properly.
“If we want to terminate people, it has to be done right, or they will sue to get their jobs back,” he said.
The Press of Atlantic City obtained Bauer’s letter Friday through an Open Public Records Act request with the state Department of Education. The Press could not reach Condry, Bright, Todd or Carrington. Marsh did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the letter, the performance evaluations for Marsh in 2015-16 “do not reflect data or statements suggestive of nonrenewal.” and there was no evidence that Marsh was advised that his performance was leading to non-renewal.
The letter said the recommendation to remove Marsh from the list of personnel up for renewal was made by then-Assistant Superintendent Garnell Bailey, who was sitting in for interim Superintendent Leonard Fitts. According to state data, Marsh’s salary in 2015-16 was $128,393.
In Todd’s case, Bauer’s letter said there were no evaluations for 2015-16 on file. There was one memorandum that Todd was placed on suspension for two days without pay as the result of a bus accident investigation by Business Administrator Elisha Thompkins.
Bauer removed Todd from her position as transportation director, but did rehire her in the department for 2016-17 at the same salary she was receiving as the director, listed in state data as $92,777. Bauer said in her decision she also considered the superintendent’s concern about late buses, the number of bus-related accidents, and the maintenance records for buses.
In Condry and Bright’s cases, the monitor also noted no evaluations were on file for 2015-16.
In Condry’s case, the monitor noted there were no documents to support allegations that he could not effectively do his job in the technology department. His salary according to state data was $38,598.
In Bright’s case there was a reference to a claims agreement provision for 38.5 sick and vacation days, but they were not documented as a performance concern during the year. His salary according to state data was $27,650.
In Carrington’s case, he was approved to remain on staff as a teacher at the South Main Street School, but the board authorized the elimination of the position of director of athletic and co-curricular activities, and his name was listed on the motion as the person affected. Interim Superintendent Leonard Fitts said he did not support cutting the position and the decision was made while he was out of the district.
Bauer reviewed Carrington’s evaluations and said there was nothing to suggest a non-renewal or assignment to a teaching position. She said there is no fiscal reason to abolish the director of athletics, which, she said, “is critical to planning for summer and fall programs.” Carrington’s salary according to state data was $110,388.