We were disturbed to learn this week that the Sag Harbor School Board handed out a raise and created a new job on Monday night, apparently without any public discussion.
Janet Verneuille the district’s business manager, was given a $10,000 raise ($120,000 to $130,000 with $10,000 bumps for the next two years) and tech coordinator Elliot Kaye was given a different job title Monday to reflect new duties and an increase in pay ($78,000 to $92,000). Our complaint is not with the fact they received an increase or a new job title, but that the district failed to adequately notify the public they intended to do so.
Monday night’s session was called a “special meeting,” but the result was the public was never really given the chance to hear the board’s reasoning for the changes. This newspaper — the official newspaper of the district — was never notified, and when questioned, the district clerk said postings were made announcing the meeting on the district’s website and on radio station WLNG. This is normally how you might announce an emergency meeting to satisfy the state’s open meeting’s law, but not the way to make sure the public gets to a meeting.
We’re trying hard to imagine under what circumstance this would have been considered an emergency, when the board had just met on Monday, September 13, and is scheduled to meet again this Monday, September 27.
We understand the board needs to meet on occasion in an emergency fashion, to transfer funds or make last minute hires, for example; but to give raises doesn’t make sense.
We hope their failure to adequately inform the public is not the start of bad habits.