Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs School District Finance and Operations Director Dale Mellor and the Steamboat Springs School Board agreed Monday to a $4,000 settlement to compensate Mellor for the seven weeks he filled in as superintendent.
Mellor acted as superintendent during the period between the buyout of former Superintendent Donna Howell's contract in August and the hiring of interim Superintendent Sandra Smyser in October. He recently approached the board about getting paid for his additional responsibilities.
"One thing I would like to say is that I thank everyone who stepped forward during this difficult transition," School Board member Denise Connelly said about the seven weeks the district was without a superintendent. The School Board previously directed Connelly to meet with Mellor to get a better understanding of the duties he took on as superintendent.
"Directors, administrators and teachers demonstrated some great dedication and professionalism during this time, and we really appreciate it," she said.
Mellor also was given two compensation days and the option of going to a conference for governmental finance officers.
Mellor described negotiating with the School Board as a "difficult topic of conversation."
"But I also need to thank everybody else who helped. This wasn't a one-person deal," he said. "The district office really stepped up huge, and I'd like to thank the people in the accounting office who took work off of me so I could do this."
Mellor's base salary for the 2007-08 school year is $87,231. Howell's salary was $145,229, and Smyser is being paid $102,353 under her prorated contract. Her base salary is similar to Howell's when calculated over a full work year.
The difference between Mellor's salary and that of the superintendent during the seven-week period for which Mellor was tasked with leading the school district was approximately $7,700.
Each School Board member expressed gratitude for Mellor's efforts, and several noted the school district's policy on extra compensation should be re-evaluated.
"It was a difficult position for Dale as an employee and negotiating after the fact," board member Lisa Brown said. "I would recommend we address the policy to this so no employee is working without a clear compensation or boundaries."
Board member John DeVincentis, who previously questioned whether Mellor should be compensated because he said Howell created the chain of command that led to Mellor's additional duties, stressed that Mellor should be commended for his time as superintendent.
"I heard a number of positive comments about Dale's work, particularly that he came to schools to meet with teachers and staff on the first day," he said. "I heard other good comments, but that one says a lot."
Also Monday, the School Board:
n Narrowed the pool of potential superintendent search firms from five to three, including Ray & Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa,; McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha, Neb.; and the Colorado Association of School Boards. The School Board plans to schedule a special session in January to hear presentations from the firms.
n Approved the purchase of bi-directional amplified antennas through a COPS Secure Our Schools Program grant to improve communication. The grant will pay for 50 percent of the cost of purchasing the antennas, at a price that will not exceed $100,000.