By Eli Ruiz and Dan Hust
LAKE HUNTINGTON July 1, 2005 In an already controversial move, the Sullivan West school board passed a measure 7-1 granting Superintendent Alan Derry a salary increase on Wednesday.
Derry signed a three-year contract last year that would pay him $149,000 a year. He requested a raise earlier this year.
Wednesdays vote granted Derry a 2.5 percent pay increase above that contractual amount. This would bring Derrys salary to $152,725, ensuring another year as the highest-paid superintendent in Sullivan County.
I feel Alan is doing a very good job, said Board President Rich Sandler yesterday. Hes putting a tremendous amount of effort into it . . . [and] he did deserve the increase.
Sandler considered it a small raise: Its almost a token gesture to show I support him.
Board member Shawn Bailey cast the single dissenting vote. Yesterday, he said it was not a vote regarding Derrys performance, explaining that hes still in an evaluation stage with Derry.
With the dire financial straits the district is in, I cant see giving a raise like that under these circumstances, said Bailey.
The 2005-2006 Sullivan West school budget, which was partly put together by Derry, contained a line item that allowed for up to a $10,500 raise for the superintendent. Derry could not be reached for comment by press time yesterday.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to ratify the teachers contract through the year 2010. Details on the contract will not be released until the teachers union ratifies it in the near future.
The last order of business was a vote to direct School Attorney David Shaw to defend the district against an appeal filed earlier in June by district residents Shannon Bailey and Nikki Maxwell.
Shaw was hired for $170 per hour for 10-20 hours of work to defend against Bailey and Nikkis allegation that the Narrowsburg and Delaware Valley campus closures were unnecessary and incorrect.
Shawn Bailey, Shannons husband, again was the lone dissenting vote. He said he opted not to abstain when Shaw told him it would not be a conflict of interest if he voted on the matter.
So he voted no explaining yesterday that he felt that if the appeal was as spurious as school officials were indicating, it did not require the expensive defense of the school attorney. Rather, said Bailey, it could be handled by Derry (with a quick review by Shaw) at far less cost to the district.