Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Superintendent Cameron moving on, out

Dr. Cameron's snazzy ties will be missed

Though he keeps refusing to confirm it, and won't return phone calls seeking comment, it appears that Salem Schools Superintendent Dr. William Cameron is returning to the western part of the state to take a superintendent job out there in a district with less than half the students of Salem's, probably with fewer headaches. It will likely make his family life easier, and may even help him add to his high 3 pension years. He originally came to us from western Mass (Pittsfield), where he was an assistant superintendent.

Dr. Cameron signed a three year contract less than a year ago. In doing so, he increased his salary by roughly 13%, and got himself a 2% annual raise each following year. A few questions come to mind.

1. What happened to a three year contract equaling 3 years of work?

2. Are there any penalties for Dr. Cameron failing to honor the contract? Does he forfeit unused rollover sick or vacation time, or does he get them as a bonus when he goes back west? Any other financial penalties?

3. Could the city have walked away as easily as Dr. Cameron if they decided they wanted to end the relationship less than a year into the contract? Somehow I'm betting not.

3. When the new contract was signed, school committee member Kevin Carr said the following, "It's good to know Dr. Cameron will be here the next three years at least." Does he feel stupid today?

4 According to Salem Patch, committee member James Fleming stated that Dr. Cameron has handled this honorably. Really? He's either failing to honor his contract, or his contract was terribly written to provide Dr. Cameron with plenty of protection, and the city with little to none. The honorable thing to do would be to honor his contract.

I don't doubt that Dr. Cameron has very good reasons for wanting to move back to the western part of the state. I don't begrudge him that at all. It also seems like he's done a decent job here, and will be missed. I do think that the city needs to consider what just happened, as well as what it costs to execute a superintendent search, and what it costs to negotiate, review, and execute an employment contract for a job like this. When negotiating the next contract, they need to remember that their job isn't to protect the financial interests of the candidate, but to do so for the taxpayer. Clearly, if Dr. Cameron is able to walk away this easily so early in this deal, those interests weren't protected enough.


  1. definitely going to miss the snazzy ties ...

  2. Dear G:
    Please stop trying to create controversies that don't exist! If he has "family reasons" for leaving "early" just respect that and let him be.

  3. Superintendents don't seem to last long in their jobs, at least in Salem. There have been three in the last 10 years. Now a fourth is needed.

  4. LOL MB. Surely you know nothing about creating controversies where none exist!

  5. lol! You noticed!
    (I was thinking the same thing as I wrote that!)


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