Title gets bonus for 'super' job as school chief, but no raise
The Fairfield Board of Education renewed Superintendent of Schools David Title's contract Tuesday, awarding him a $10,000 bonus for a job well done in his first year as schools chief, but no raise.
After board members voted 7-2 vote on the motion to approve a contract with no raise next year -- but with a potential $12,500 bonus a year from now -- several members expressed frustration that Title is not getting a salary increase.
His contract called for total annual compensation of $260,000 since taking over as Fairfield superintendent a year ago.
"It's extremely difficult to give an outstanding employee a zero percent increase," said Board of Education Vice Chairwoman Pamela Iacono. "But we're all understanding of the economic times we're facing. I did this with a heavy heart. He earned an increase, but unfortunately we just can't afford to give him one at this time."
Chairman John Mitola said Title has done an "amazing job" since coming to the district last summer from Bloomfield.
Asked if he thought giving the superintendent up to $22,500 in bonuses over two years' time might be viewed by the public as tantamount to a raise, Mitola told the Fairfield Citizen, "No, because the $10,000 bonus was for this year. That ends tomorrow."
The year, he added, was "very difficult." The majority of the board, Mitola said, "felt he did a terrific job this year. We need to reward him for the work that he did, but keep in mind the state of the town and the country from an economic standpoint."
Deliberations over year the second year of Title's contract, conducted by the board behind closed doors in executive session, lasted more than two hours Tuesday night.
The board, in renewing Title's three-year contract, also extended it for another year through 2013-14.
In Title's first year on the job, in addition to his total compensation and annuity package of $260,000, he also was allotted up to $6,000 in reimbursement for job-related use of his car.
He also was eligible, according to the first year of his contract, for an additional $25,000 if he had relocated his residence to Fairfield. Other benefits included 25 vacation days annually, exclusive of legal holidays; 18 days worth of sick leave at full pay; five personal days; medical and dental insurance paid for Title and his immediate family, and a one-time, lump sum payment of $4,500 to fund the premium for the his disability insurance policy.
While Title's contract runs three years, it is reviewed at the end of each year.
His first-year salary was 1 percent more than was being paid Ann Clark, whose retirement made way for Title's hiring.
Catherine Albin, a longtime member of the school board, said Title earned every penny of his compensation as well as the new bonus.
"He has taken the district by storm this year," she said.
In a statement to the Fairfield Citizen on Wednesday, Albin added, "I understand the fiscal pressures that Fairfield is operating under ... Understanding that we are in a period where enrollment continues to rise and overall funding per student, adjusted for inflation, has been declining, the board was looking for a superintendent who would maintain our high quality of education in Fairfield, while doing so with less money.
"In his first year, Dr. Title has helped us achieve these goals through restructuring in the areas of program and operations ... It is short sighted to be penny wise and pound foolish by trying to save the nominal amounts of money that the board acted to save last night at the risk of costing us many times that amount by having a dissatisfied CEO of our district."