Beleaguered Rockland area school business manager returning to job

Neal Guyer, director of school improvement for Regional School Unit 13, left,, RSU 13 Board Chairwoman Esther &quotTess" Kilgour and Business Manager Scott Vaitones are seen at a March 2013 meeting.
Neal Guyer, director of school improvement for Regional School Unit 13, left,, RSU 13 Board Chairwoman Esther "Tess" Kilgour and Business Manager Scott Vaitones are seen at a March 2013 meeting. Buy Photo
Posted Feb. 14, 2014, at 11:05 a.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Regional School Unit 13 Business Manager Scott Vaitones will be returning to his post after being put on administrative leave for the past three months, according to two sources.

Both sources told the BDN that the return of Vaitones to his job is part of a settlement negotiated between him and the board. They said they could not comment on the record since the agreement had not been signed.

Neither source would reveal any other details about the settlement or when Vaitones would return.

On Tuesday night, the board voted 9-2 to settle the disciplinary complaint against Vaitones, who was accused of mishandling system finances, in particular as pertaining to the school lunch program. The board would not publicly reveal details of the settlement until the deal could be put in writing and signed.

Superintendent Lew Collins placed Vaitones on paid leave on Nov. 14. Collins announced in December that he was resigning due to a lack of support from the board. His last day on the job was Friday, Feb. 14. The board approved a severance package worth about $100,000 for Collins that pays him through the end of 2014.

The board also voted 9-2 Tuesday night to hire Michael Wilhelm as its superintendent through May 24. Wilhelm served as superintendent for SAD 75, based in Topsham, for 19 years. In 2003, he was named Maine Superintendent of the Year. He retired in 2011 but came out of retirement to serve as interim superintendent of RSU 16 in Poland in 2012.

The Casco resident will be paid $500 per day plus $400 a month toward the rental of a local house.

The settlement deal reached Tuesday night came as the board was prepared to continue its disciplinary hearing to determine whether Vaitones should be fired. The superintendent said that Vaitones had made too many mistakes in posting expenses and that his accounting was sloppy. Errors by the business manager had led to the district’s projected surplus being off by $500,000, he maintained.

The business manager’s attorney, however, said that the concerns about Vaitones’ work began after his client sent an email to the school board chairwoman and vice chairman on Oct. 15 about concerns he had about the superintendent hiring additional employees in the special education department.

Collins said Tuesday night that the special education budget is running well under budget through more than half the budget year.

Neither Board Chair Esther “Tess” Kilgour nor Vaitones would comment publicly about the settlement.

 

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