Christmas came a little early for the superintendent and his cabinet as the trustees voted to give them more of your tax dollars. Here’s the breakdown from the Daily Pilot story:

Supt. Fred Navarro’s salary will increase to $282,844 in the 2017-18 school year and $289,915 in 2018-19.

Deputy Supt. Russell Lee-Sung’s salary will increase to $230,625 in 2017-18 and $236,391 in 2018-19. (Lee-Sung earned an additional $227.43 per day for 45 full days as acting superintendent while Navarro was on leave after being injured in a fall in August. Navarro received his regular compensation while on medical leave.)

Timothy Holcomb, assistant superintendent and chief operating officer, will receive $228,575 for 2017-18. His salary will increase to $234,289 in 2018-19.

Sara Jocham, assistant superintendent of student support services, will receive $228,575 for 2017-18 and $234,289 in 2018-19.

Luis Camarena, assistant superintendent and chief human resources officer, will receive $220,756 for 2017-18 and $226,275 for 2018-19.

Salaries for executive directors Kirk Bauermeister, Kurt Suhr and Jeff Trader will increase to $213,144 in 2017-18 and $218,473 for 2018-19.

In addition, district spokeswoman Annette Franco will receive a 2.5% increase this year to $137,000 and a 6.6% raise next year to $146,042.

According to Transparent California, there are at least 13 other Bear St. bureaucrats whose 2016 salaries are over $150,000. See them here: https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2016/school-districts/orange/newport-mesa-unified/?&s=-base

There’s nothing wrong with pay raises. But administrative pay raises that are not tied to any performance improvement or accountability are fiscally irresponsible and help create complacency in the workplace. After all, goes the thinking, I get a fat salary regardless of how much I have contributed so why work hard or stick my neck out?

I saw this mentality at a well-known Fortune 100 company for which I consulted several years ago. That company is now in the news for its spectacular fall from the top of the heap.

So the brass get more money, even though they are responsible for:

  • Swun Math mess.
  • Wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on 80′ poles at Estancia that had to come down
  • Locating solar panels at Estancia in prim foul ball territory where damage to panels was inevitable
  • Seven- year stink at Estancia
  • Estancia swimming pool debacle
  • Rodent infestations so bad that they have been seen in classrooms
  • The incredible, amazing, stupefying, horrible handling of the new sports complex at CdM (Has a lawsuit been filed yet? If not, wait for it.)
  • Continued low scores at CM schools (83% of Estancia’s 11th graders failed to meet 2017 standards for math)
  • The third-world conditions at Costa Mesa High
  • The in-your-face vote for new area Map G, the least favorite of the public
  • The upcoming in-your-face approval of the new Collegiate Calendar, despite not one shred of evidence showing that it will improve anything. (Wait for it.)
  • Most important: The toxic work environment that compels teachers to remain silent when they see something wrong
  • And so much more…

This administration doesn’t deserve raises, they should be returning wages to taxpayers for these and other examples of mismanagement.

Here’s the link to the Pilot story: http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/tn-dpt-me-salary-increase-20171117-story.html

Progress is as progress does

At the school board meeting last week, three members of the cabinet were using electronic devices to take notes instead of using the old school pen and paper method. This is a good development, particularly since the first 30 or so minutes are attended by many students who represent their schools and give reports. Teaching them to become part of the 21 [C]entury economy or society or whatever rings hollow when they see the decision-makers failing to set the example. Plus, it costs taxpayers more.

The superintendent should insist that everyone use a laptop or mobile device to take notes, but that would mean exhibiting some leadership and we don’t have that right now.

And finally…

I forgot to  tell you… Those fat salaries? Those are for 224 days of work per year.

Steve Smith
Taxpayer, N-MUSD

P.S. Note to a certain Bear St. employee: It’s “pique” interest, not “peek.”

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