Pallotta: No confusion with mayor’s contract

Pallotta: No confusion with mayor’s contract

In the Sept. 30 edition of The Breeze regarding the superintendent’s contract, the mayor referred to me as being “confused.”

The mayor likes to use the word “confused” when someone disagrees with him. I was not confused when I defended the contract at our last School Committee meeting. There were no misleading statements, I just stated the facts. I also said that since the mayor publicly used the contract for political gain, it is only fair that the mayor’s agreement/contract be made public.

There is no confusion about the mayor’s agreement/contract. These are the facts:

• The mayor will receive a $30,000 increase over the next three years, $10,000 a year.

• The mayor only pays a 5 percent co-pay for his health insurance coverage.

• Everyone in the school district pays a 20-22.5 percent co-pay for their health insurance coverage.

The mayor stated that the superintendent’s contract was “morally wrong.” Can we say that a $30,000 increase over three years and a 5 percent co-pay is morally right?

Fairness is in the eye of the beholder.

Confusion is when the mayor told The Breeze that the School Department received an increase in state aid of $ 1.3 million, when in fact we received $35,000 less than the previous year.

Confusion is when the mayor makes a statement implying that the School Department rebuffs his attempts of not cooperating with the town. I believe in every correspondence that I sent to the mayor, I always offered to meet with the town to resolve any issues. Additionally, last year I recommended to have a budget summit to review/discuss any outstanding fiscal issues. The mayor never responded.

Confusion is when the mayor stated in his May 21 letter that the School Department never asked the Town Council to amend the school budget. As a matter of fact, I asked the council twice to appropriate additional money to the schools. I recommended that the town put aside an additional $250,000, which would be used for special education tuitions if needed. The town did not appropriate the $250,000, which the schools respectfully accepted. Ironically, for fiscal year 2021, the town put aside approximately $400,000 for the schools if needed.

Democracy is a system of checks and balances to prevent autocracy. Cooperation and respect is a two-way street.

One last point: At last year’s budget workshop, a councilman asked the mayor the following question: Does the current interim finance director receive two full-time paychecks from two different line items in the budget? As I recall, the Mayor answered, “she deserves it.”

Mayor, you continue to criticize the superintendent’s contract. The School Committee broke no law, regulation, or town charter. You should review section 24-1-6 of the town charter and ask yourself if you violated it by approving two full-time paychecks for the interim finance director. The taxpayers deserve total transparency and an explanation about how someone can receive two full-time paychecks, how many hours a day does the interim finance director work, and what is her salary.

Frank Pallotta,

Chairman, North Providence 
School Committee