Greene Co school board splits vote on administrative salaries

McConnell suggests salary cut or non-renewal of superintendent’s contract

The Greene County board of education approved 1.68 percent salary increases for administrators Wednesday, but only after board member John McConnell suggested the board consider reducing superintendent Tim Christensen’s salary or terminating his contract.

Christensen, business manager Brenda Muir and middle school principal Shawn Zanders had requested no increase in salary, and the motion as it was made by Teresa Hagen exempted them from the increase.

After Hagen made the motion but before it was seconded, McConnell asked that it be amended and the board go into closed session to discuss the three names. After a bit of confusion about the rules of order, Mike Dennhardt seconded Hagen’s motion as she made it.

The rules of order call for discussion after a motion is made and seconded, and board member Mark Peters suggested then there could be discussion of going into closed session. However, veteran journalist Tori Riley reminded the board that discussion of administrative contracts is not an allowed reason for a closed session under Iowa’s open meetings law.

McConnell then said, “On an increase in salaries I’m OK with everything except where we stand with Tim’s salary. I think we need to have some further discussion on our direction… We’ve had some issues in the past, the distant past and the recent past that we need to address.”

He said he’d like to discuss a reduction in salary or non-renewal of Christensen’s contract.

Peters said that would be grounds for a closed session; Muir reminded him Christensen would need to make that request.

Board president David Ohrt suggested the board first put Hagen’s motion to a vote. McConnell clarified that the board would need to vote down Hagen’s motion regarding salary increases before considering a reduction in salary or non-renewal.

Christensen made no comments as the discussion was taking place.

Hagen’s motion was approved by a 5-2 vote, with Hagen, Dennhardt, Peters, Sam Harding and Ohrt voting “yes” and McConnell and Steve Fisher voting “no.”

Per Hagen’s motion, the 1.68 percent increase is to wages only, with a total cost to the district of $7,978. Administrators will be in the second year of a two-year contract. Going forward, administrative contracts will be for one year.

“At this time, there are some unknown budgetary factors. The recommendation would be to consider increases when these items are resolved. Any future increase this fiscal year would be retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year,” Hagen read as part of the motion prepared prior to the meeting.

The salaries under consideration are for the year beginning July 1.

There was no further discussion of a salary cut or ending Christensen’s contract.


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