Dispute settled with Rockland area school business manager, contract to end early

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 20, 2014, at 12:21 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Regional School Unit 13 Business Manager Scott Vaitones’ contract will end June 30, a year earlier than it was scheduled to expire, according to a settlement reached between him and the district.

He also admits that significant accounting errors were made under his management, states the agreement reached last week. Terms of that agreement were just made public this week.

Vaitones has been on paid leave since Nov. 14 when former Superintendent Lew Collins informed the business manager of his intent to fire him for errors he made.

“Mr. Vaitones acknowledges that significant errors were made in the accounting for the RSU expenses under his management and accepts responsibility for these errors,” states the agreement. “The existence of these accounting errors was a reasonable basis for the RSU to initiate termination proceedings.”

Vaitones will remain as business manager through June 30 subject to an “action plan” drafted by the superintendent “relating to his work and the normal expectations of that position and subject to all the rights that RSU 13 and the superintendent may exercise as an employer.”

An email message sent Thursday morning seeking comment from Vaitones was not immediately returned.

Board Chairwoman Esther “Tess” Kilgour issued a statement in response to the settlement.

“As the RSU 13 board chair, I feel I need to explain why the board of directors voted to settle its termination hearing of the business manager. For the past four months RSU 13 has been front page news for all the wrong reasons. Our district has suffered through a vote of no confidence in our former superintendent, his subsequent resignation agreement, and finally a very public and divisive termination hearing for the business manager. These highly publicized events, through all forms of media, have undermined the communities’ confidence in the board’s ability to lead the education of RSU 13’s students.

“It was with this negative publicity in mind that the board decided to resolve the dismissal hearing in order to put this series of events behind us and to begin to better serve the needs of the district,” wrote Kilgour. “The board has agreed to bring Mr. Vaitones back only until June 30, 2014, which is when his contract will now expire. During the next four months Mr. Vaitones will operate under close monitoring to ensure that his same errors are not repeated. Mr. Vaitones has acknowledged that he alone is responsible for his significant errors and takes full responsibility.”

“Superintendent Collins and the board were fully justified in seeking his termination. With this chapter closed it is the board’s resolution to put our focus back on the betterment of student education and move RSU 13 forward,” concluded the board chair.

Kilgour will step down on March 6 as board chair but remain on the board. Steven Roberts of Rockland will be the new chair of the board.

Collins last day on the job was last week. He announced his resignation in December, citing the lack of support from the board. He received a severance package of about $100,000.

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/02/20/news/midcoast/dispute-settled-with-rockland-area-school-business-managers-contract-to-end-early/ printed on October 25, 2014