“Nationally Competitive” or “State Competitive” Salaries

Thursday night, I made some comments to the Huntsville City School Board of Education and Dr. Wardynski asking about the number of aides that Dr. Wardynski has as compared to the aides that my son has.

I stated at one point, “The superintendent continues to hire people at, as he said about the new CSFO, nationally competitive rates.”

Despite repeatedly asking for a justification for the hiring of four aides to assist Dr. Wardynski, the only response that Dr. Wardynski offered to me was to say:

“These are state competitive salaries, Mr. Winn. Thank you.”

When I stated that he said that they were nationally competitive, Dr. Wardynski responded:

“No I did not, I said that they were competitive at the state level.”

Again, this was his only response to my requests for justification for his four aides when my son has access to only two-fifths (or 40%) of one. You can watch the exchange at about the 58 minute mark below.


In order to clarify this issue, I have reviewed the recording from the August 2nd meeting where Dr. Wardynski recommended to the board Mr. Frank Spinelli as the new CSFO. You may listen to the relevant portion of the meeting here:

Here is my transcript of what Dr. Wardynski said at that meeting concerning the salary of Mr. Spinelli, the new CSFO.

 

McCaulley: Are you going to discuss the salary?

Wardynski: Am I going to discuss the salary? The salary is competitive with the larger districts in our state.

McCaulley: I know that, but

Wardynski: Oh

[Laughter]

Wardynski: Ah salary will be $130,000 dollars per year. And this is commensurate with salaries with the larger districts in our state. Um, this is uh competitive with what it would take to bring in an individual from out of state as well. So we’re competitive . . . District seeks to be competitive at the national level. Part of that is staffing, obviously to be competitive at that level. And uh, so, we think this is competitive compensation.  Mr. Spinelli agreed. And uh he’s willing to accept this compensation.

So, yes, Dr. Wardynski did say that the $130,000 dollars per year salary was “state competitive.” He said, “The salary is competitive with the larger districts in our state.” He also said, “And this is commensurate with salaries with the larger districts in our state.”

Thus, Dr. Wardynski was correct Thursday night when he stated that, “These are state competitive salaries, Mr. Winn. Thank You.”

So where did I get the idea that Mr. Spinelli’s salary was also nationally competitive? Did I make it up? Was I lying?

Perhaps it was from this statement:

“Um, this is uh competitive with what it would take to bring in an individual from out of state as well.”

If we’re competitive on a level to bring in an individual from out of state, I think it’s reasonable to think that such a salary could be, “nationally competitive.” But that still isn’t quite the same thing as saying that the administrative salaries are nationally competitive, is it?

Maybe I got the idea from this statement:

“So we’re competitive . . . District seeks to be competitive at the national level. Part of that is staffing, obviously to be competitive at that level. And uh, so, we think this is competitive compensation.”

If the district “seeks to be” competitive at the national level, and if the salary we have offered Mr. Spinelli was sufficient “to bring in an individual from out of state as well” then I believe it’s again reasonable to think that Mr. Spinelli’s salary is competitive on a national level. It is, after all, only $8,400 less than the salary that Dr. Wardynski was making as the CFO of Aurora Public Schools before he came to Huntsville. The Cobb County, GA, CFO earns, $127,665 per year. The former CSFO of Huntsville City Schools, AL, earned $114,290 a year.

The $130,000 per year salary is at least competitive in three states.

Yet Dr. Wardynski stated on Thursday that these salaries are competitive on a state level. Out of respect for his position as the leader of our school system and particularly out of respect for his thirty years of service in our military, I accept his statement that these salaries are state competitive.

Therefore, I offer Dr. Wardynski my apology. I was mistaken in my interpretation of his comments on August 2, 2011.

As such, I have made an attempt to alter my statements from last night and from earlier postings on the blog concerning my mistaken interpretation. I believe that I have corrected all of my mistakes in interpretation, but if I haven’t captured them all, I welcome people to point out the statements that I missed.

Having corrected my mistake, I have one additional question for Dr. Wardynski: “How do you justify offering even state competitive administrative salaries while our new teachers salaries are set at the state minimum?”

Dr. Wardynski, again, I apologize for my mis-interpretation of your comments on August 2nd. I was confused by your discussion of the need for building a nationally competitive district by making staffing competitive at that level. Thank you for your patience with me in helping me understand what you meant when you said that our system should be competitive on a national level.

I look forward to hearing from you concerning my questions.

 

 

 
Russell
"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.

6 Comments

  1. While I can recognize the tongue in cheek nature of your apology, the simple fact of the matter is…

    Dr. Wardynski lied.

    Clearly from his statement, he views his need for staffing on the National Level. He’s hired from out of state, he refered to the staffing as competitive on a national level, as per your audio recording and transcript above. He can quibble and say that he also called it “state competitve” but he put that out there to clearly discredit and intimidate you and to falsefy your statements. In one swoop, he used both argumentum ad logicam AND ad hominem at the same time!

    If Dr. Wardynski wants to “lead by example” and hold his staff and teachers to the highest of moral and ethical standards, at the very least it is he that owes you an apology. Perhaps he should lead by example by firing himself. One has to wonder if he’d accept such a quibble from a member of his own staff.

    1. Having been in the position of speaking off the cuff, I’m going with the assumption that he simply misspoke. It’s easy to do, and as my question points out, it doesn’t matter much.

      It’s still wrong for our administration to be hired at “state” competitive salaries when our new teachers are receiving the state minimum.

      Everything should start with the classroom. Make those salaries at least regionally competitive in North Alabama, then everything else can and will follow.

      Put students and their classrooms first.

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