A Money-Saving Suggestion Regarding the Superintendent's Contract Extension


The following statement was read at Open Time during the February 17, 2010 Park Board meeting:


I am speaking for the first time to you, the new Board. I welcome all of you, especially those of you who were voted to be on the Board as agents of change.

As the Park Board begins the transition to its new leadership, there has been mention of retaining Superintendent Gurban beyond the June 30th expiration date of his contract. Many of us who follow the Park Board were surprised to hear this because there has been an expectation that the superintendent will be leaving his position when his contract expires.

After all, the board’s new six-commissioner majority was the result of a voters’ mandate for a new superintendent. Many of your supporters were hoping for a buyout of the current superintendent’s contract, but it became apparent that that would not happen. So we were content to be patient and wait for June 30 and the beginning of the long awaited-for transformation.

And now we are hearing that our current superintendent may have his contract extended. Please tell us that this is not true. Please think about the Park Board’s current budgetary constraints and then consider the financial implications of retaining Mr. Gurban after his contract expires.

Based on the superintendent’s annual compensation of $140,000, a four-month extension through October 31 would cost taxpayers approximately $47,000, plus negotiated benefits. A six-month extension through December 31 would cost taxpayers approximately $70,000, plus negotiated benefits.

By not extending Mr. Gurban’s employment, the Park Board would be saving from $47,000 to $70,000, plus cost of benefits. Those savings could be used to offset the costs of the superintendent’s search.

It really makes no sense to retain Mr. Gurban during this transitional period. As for a temporary replacement for the superintendent, there are several staff members who are qualified to assume the superintendent’s responsibilities on a temporary basis: for example, Karen Robinson, Mike Schmidt or Paul Hokeness.

So, in closing, I urge you to honor your fiduciary responsibilities to your constituents. Stay on course and be decisive.

Thank you.

Arlene Fried
Co-founder of Park Watch