Former Lincoln superintendent to get $140,000 severance package

Posted May 10, 2013, at 2:06 p.m.
Former RSU 67 Superintendent Denise Hamlin
Courtesy of RSU 67
Former RSU 67 Superintendent Denise Hamlin

LINCOLN, Maine — Former RSU 67 Superintendent Denise Hamlin, who resigned last month, will continue to draw her salary before receiving a $140,000 payment on June 30, according to the severance agreement signed by Hamlin and school leaders.

According to documents provided to the Bangor Daily News through a Freedom of Access Act request late Thursday afternoon, Hamlin agreed with her employer’s request that she “not report to the School Unit’s offices” after April 24, the day RSU 67 board members voted 7-0, with four abstaining, to accept her resignation.

Instead, Hamlin will “comply with reasonable requests to cooperate” with any pending litigation and be “reasonably available” for telephone consultation during regular business hours until June 30, the agreement states. It could not be immediately determined Friday if there is pending litigation against RSU 67 or Hamlin.

The stipulation barring Hamlin from the office is “not disciplinary in nature but rather is made to allow the Employer to employ a new Superintendent,” the agreement states. “Nothing in this request shall be considered to imply any disciplinary purpose.”

Hamlin and Rebecca Hanscom, chairwoman of the RSU 67 board of directors, declined to comment Friday. A clause in the severance agreement bars all board members from commenting publicly on Hamlin’s resignation beyond a press release that was issued on April 24.

The agreement gave Hamlin the opportunity to remove her personal belongings from her office and speak to staff on April 25, though officials said she emptied her office during the school board meeting.

The $140,000 is effectively an extra payment consisting of $100,000 in salary minus federal and state taxes and other funds typically withheld in salaries and $40,000 to Hamlin’s insurers. June 30 ends the 2012-13 fiscal year.

As part of the agreement, the district will pay Hamlin’s health insurance for one year or less than that if she secures other employment. The agreement does not specify if that means full- or part-time work.

A Milo resident and principal at Helen S. Dunn Elementary School of Greenbush, Hamlin was hired as RSU 67’s superintendent at an annual salary of $91,000 on July 1, 2010. She replaced Michael Marcinkus.

Hamlin resigned at a school board meeting April 24 apparently due to the lack of community support for budgets she had proposed. The board voted 7-0 to accept Hamlin’s resignation. Members Regginal Adams, Rebecca Fleming, Carolyn Smith and John Trask abstained. About 60 people attended the meeting.

Residents of Chester, Lincoln and Mattawamkeag rejected proposed 2012-13 budgets four times before passing one in January. Some teachers said Hamlin had a top-down management style that alienated school staff and prompted the resignations or retirements of nearly all RSU 67 central office administrators.

Hamlin disagreed at the time, saying she was following board guidelines and was constrained by confidentiality requirements from discussing personnel issues.

Board members last month named curriculum coordinator Cathy Menard as interim superintendent of the school system, which serves Chester, Lincoln and Mattawamkeag, until a more permanent successor could be found.

The board voted 6-0 on Wednesday to appoint Raymond Freve of Plymouth as interim superintendent to replace Hamlin.

Hanscom said the board approved Freve based on his vast experience as a superintendent and educator, which will help him step into the school board’s budget process.

Although the contract is not yet complete, Freve will be paid $500 per day and only get paid for the days he works, Hanscom has said.

About $350 of that is a standard base pay for interim superintendents recommended by the Maine School Management Association, which helped RSU 67 officials with their search by furnishing a list of possible candidates, Hanscom said.

The rest will pay his lodging and travel expenses, Hanscom said. The board will begin its search for a more permanent successor immediately.

The contract likely will run for one year. It will include a 10-day out clause for Freve and the board and it will carry the understanding that Freve will step aside immediately if a successor to Hamlin is found before the year is up.

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