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Changes Made to School Superintendent’s Contract

April 8, 2018 GMT

WILMINGTON -- When former School Superintendent Mary DeLai resigned under pressure in October 2016, selectmen and parents in the community were surprised that DeLai would still be paid through June 2017.

Though not employed in the district, DeLai’s separation agreement included that she receive her regular compensation and benefitsa total of $125,975.13.

Incoming School Superintendent Glenn Brand will not be eligible for the same benefit.

“A dismissal by the Committee shall sever any and all rights that the Superintendent shall have under this Agreement (except payment for accumulated but unused vacation days) for the balance of the contract period subsequent to the dismissal, including, without limitation, any claim to compensation,” Brand’s contract reads. This sentence was not included in DeLai’s contract.

School Committee Chair Steve Bjork said he could not comment on specific changes in the contract.

“I know our attorney made a number of language changes within this contract to update it to today’s legal standards,” Bjork said. “As far as language and so forth, we worked under the advising of legal counsel and he had a number of wording changes that he thought would make sense.”

Selectman Kevin Caira said he had not yet seen the contract, but is pleased to hear of the addition to the termination section.

In 2016, the Board of Selectmen only discovered DeLai was still being paid after reviewing a warrant.

“I’m glad they included that, it makes sense to put that in there,” Caira said. “It protects the residents from paying money that they don’t have to, or that they shouldn’t have to.”

Selectman Mike McCoy was also vocal in his disapproval of the terms of DeLai’s separation agreement.

“That was a golden parachute, what they did for DeLai. She should have never gotten $125,000,” McCoy said. “I’m glad to see that they put stronger language into this contract. We need to be careful about how we spend our dollars.”

The contract, which is valid through June 30, 2021, also states that Brand will be paid $190,000 annually. DeLai’s salary was $162,500.

Brand was superintendent of the Acton-Boxboro Regional School District from 2014 through 2017. He was the assistant superintendent for administration and finance of the Sharon Public Schools from 2011 to 2014.

“From what I understand he’s a very talented individual and I’m looking forward to his expertise in Wilmington,” Caira said of Brand. “He will bring some stability to the schools.”

Brand’s appointment was unanimous by the School Committee. Bjork said committee members are excited to have him aboard.

“Certainly everyone in the district, School Committee and the faculty and staff are very much looking forward to him joining the team,” Bjork said.

Come July, Assistant Superintendent Sean Gallagher will leave the district to become the superintendent of the Newburyport Public Schools.

Interim Superintendent Paul Ruggiero will become the assistant superintendent of administration and finance. Bjork said the district will be looking to hire an assistant superintendent of curriculum and development.

“Paul’s duties are remaining as they were, it is simply going to be a title change in recognition of the outstanding work he has done as interim superintendent,” Bjork said.

Follow Kori Tuitt on Twitter @KoriTuitt.