Please note that some questions and comments may not be suitable for this public page. Please read the Question/Comment Submission Rules thoroughly before submitting a question or comment to this site.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Director of Facilities & Operations

Question: Could you please tell me what the Director of Operations and Safety will be doing for the district?  Is this newly created? State mandated? Shouldn't or couldn't this be covered under Mr. Tomlinson's position in these tough economic times? I am wondering where the $72,000 is coming from as we were on the verge of laying off teachers again this year and the budget failed. Seems to me you could hire two teachers for this money and relieve some of the class sizes we currently have. I'm hoping this is a grant or something where the district isn't footing the entire salary, similiar to the communications position (even with half recovered from the state for this position, the pay is too high; I know private sector communications people who don't make what this district's specialist does). Please explain our new director's position. Thank you.

Answer: Over the next five years, the position of district director of facilities and operations is expected to save Broadalbin-Perth more than $200,000 by consolidating two management positions and eliminating B-P’s subscription to the BOCES Health-Safety-Risk Management service.

The elimination of the subscription to the Health-Safety-Risk Management service will save Broadalbin-Perth more than $45,000 in the first year (2011-12). The director of facilities and operations will fill the role that the BOCES Health-Safety-Risk Management service once played, including staff training, emergency planning, and ensuring that numerous state and federal mandates regarding health and safety are fulfilled.

For the 2011-12 school year, the manager who once oversaw the transportation department will take on the duties of an auto mechanic. This move allowed the district to eliminate one auto mechanic position at a savings of $37,000 in salary plus additional savings in health and retirement benefits.

The district expects that the buildings and grounds supervisor will retire within the next three years. When that person retires, the position will not be filled, and the duties of that position will be absorbed by the director of facilities and operations. The elimination of the buildings and grounds supervisor’s salary and benefits has been factored into the more than $200,000 in savings that the district expects to see over the next five years.

The moves that led to the creation of the director of facilities and operations position are part of the district’s goal of reducing upper-level management. However, this is not a job that specializes in just one area, and the job description is quite complex. Because of this, we felt it would be irresponsible to eliminate two supervisors and hire one person to replace them all at the same time; phasing in the responsibilities of the new director of facilities and operations is very important to ensure the continued high level of care of the district’s capital assets, including its buildings and vehicles.

The community has asked the school district to find cost savings by reducing staffing. This decision was made in the spirit of that request.

As for your question about the communications specialist position, you can find a great deal of information about this position by clicking here. To clarify, the district subscribes to the BOCES communications service, which costs approximately $100,000 a year, with about half of that cost reimbursed to the district from the state. The communications specialist assigned to Broadalbin-Perth is a BOCES employee and her annual salary is much less than what Broadalbin-Perth pays for the service. However, the district is not just paying for a solitary communications specialist when it subscribes to the BOCES service. The communications service also provides the support of graphic designers, web developers, print brokers, grant writers, and the expertise of more than 50 public relations professionals. If we were to directly employ a communications specialist independently of BOCES, we would pay nearly $85,000 a year in salary and benefits (including health and retirement) and would lose the communications support that comes with subscribing to the BOCES service -- and the district would not receive any reimbursements from the state. Financially, this would result in a net loss of more than $35,000.

- answered by Ed Szumowski, Board of Education President


  1. You just describe how the district saved dollars by subscribing through BOCES for our communications officer. Doesn't the same hold true for Health-Safety-Risk Management services? So why end that BOCES service 3 years prior to a possible retirement? Sounds like stretched reasoning!

  2. Not all BOCES services are beneficial to all districts. Nor is every service appropriate at all times. Whenever the district can perform a task in-house for less money, we will. When circumstances are such that it's more economical to utilize BOCES services we'll do that.