Goger to be Superintendent Through 2014
Board of Ed rescinds current contract, approves new one that freezes salary for its duration.
The Bernards Township Board of Education approved the contract for Superintendent Valerie Goger that will run through 2014.
In one motion, the board rescinded the previous employment contract, which was effective July 1, 2008 until June 30, 2011 and unanimously approved a new contract to begin Nov. 1, 2010 until June 30, 2014.
"The Board of Education has one year to notify the superintendent whether he or she will be retained and that deadline occurred last June 30," Board President Susan Carlsson explained.
"We all agreed that Valerie would be welcome back as superintendent so we negotiated a contract for the next three years—typical contracts can be from three to five years. It was Valerie's desire to have a three-year contract."
Goger's salary will be frozen for the three years her contract is in effect. Carlsson said this is the second time in three years Goger has offered to freeze her salary.
"She will be contributing 1.5 percent of her salary to health care. She has also offered to pay her disability policy on her own, which is another $3,000; the district will not be putting up. I should mention she did that last year, as well. Valerie has also agreed to give up certain memberships and dues," Carlsson said. "So on a contract of $217,300 in salary, we are calculating approximately $14,700 in give-backs."
Basking Ridge resident Glen Taylor spoke during the public forum portion of the meeting about Gov. Chris Christie's plan to cap superintendents' salaries at $175,000.
According to Carlsson, the executive county superintendent explained that the governor's proposed cap is not being worked on because it is a project of the former commissioner.
The proposed cap would limit superintendents' salaries up to $175,000 for a district the size of Bernards Township, a $2,500 additional for a high school and up to a 15 percent bonus—five performance indicators at 3 percent each. These limitations would bring Goger's salary to about $10,000 of what it is.
"If you factor in the give-backs, it would be about $3,000 less if she hit all the performance marks," Carlsson said. "I've said on a couple of occasions that I don't agree with the idea of a cap."
"The superintendent is the only employee we have any discretion over. We technically don't have the ability to evaluate or review any employee except the superintendent and I think the analogy that 'no one should make more than the governor' doesn't hold water. Our superintendent has been here for 12 years, you have to have a certain level of experience and education. The same is not true for the governor—I mean I could be governor if I wanted to."
Taylor was also concerned that the new contract was put into effect eight months prior to her old contract expiring. Carlsson felt that reaching an agreement with Goger at an earlier date and not having prolonged negotiations was a positive thing.
"The contract is a boiler-plate contract as dictated by the state and has been approved by the county superintendent," Carlsson said.