How much is it worth it for the new Wake County school board majority to get rid of Superintendent Del Burns before June 30?
As noted in today's article, the board majority says it wants to work with him through the end of June 30. But there's another option available.
In Burns' contract, there's a provision that says that once he submits written notice of resignation the board can unilaterally choose to terminate him immediately. (The contract I've posted is the original from 2006 but school board attorney Ann Majestic said the language is still there.)
By terminating him now, the board would owe Burns his salary through June 30 and pay for any unused state accrued annual leave. I don't know how much leave Burns has got, but we're looking at around $68,000 in salary.
Normally, the board would have to pay Burns 18 months worth of salary if they wanted to buy his contract out early. That's worth $409,500.
But the buyout option was waived once Burns submitted his notice on Tuesday.
The board could also try to fire him for cause but it would be expensive and messy.
The board could also waive the requirement that Burns has to give 90 days notice to avoid a $30,000 penalty. But Burns said he wants to stay through June 30. Plus, would he want to leave early and not take the four months salary and pay from annual leave he could get in return?
Now, the board could continue to work with Burns through June 30.
But Burns made it very clear in several media interviews on Thursday that he's opposed to the policies of the board majority.
The criticism caused school board member John Tedesco, who was designated the main spokesman Thursday by Ron Margiotta, to warn that Burns could face insubordination charges if he can't work effectively with the majority.
“If he basically can’t perform the duties of his job, it either becomes inadequate job performance or insubordination or something that needs to be dealt with at another level,” said Tedesco in the article. “We hope that doesn’t happen. I have great respect for him as a person.”
Now school board member Keith Sutton warned that the board minority would try to block any personnel action against Burns.
"That’s not going to happen,” Sutton said of the prospect of personnel action. “Del Burns has served this system with distinction and honor and integrity. To think that that we would treat him with any less than that in terms of respect is ridiculous and preposterous.”