I spent last night trying to find the automatic renewal clause in my contract with the radio station. I didn't find it because it's not in there. I'd be willing to bet that most contract employees won't find such a clause in their deals--because no employer would tie themselves to a potential dud of an employee.
Yet that is exactly what the Oshkosh School Board has done with it Superintendent. Now I am not saying that Ron Heilmann is a dud of an employee--but does it really matter? No matter what he does in his job, that contract automatically rolls over--unless a majority of the school board thinks he stinks and then they have to make their case for ending the contract--and paying out a big severance package.
That brings up a very interesting question when it comes to public employee contracts: Should the workers bear the burden of proof that they are doing their jobs? Or should the government body that hires them have to prove they can't handle the position?
I can certainly see why the employee would want to have the security of rollover clauses or automatic renewals--but taxpayers need the protection against ineffective leadership. What City Councillor wants to run on a platform of "I'm going to fire the City Manager" or what school board member wants to put "Replacing the superintendent" on top of their priorities list. Okay, what candidates outside the Oshkosh area will go around saying that?
Administrators doing a good job should have little to fear without automatic rollovers in their contracts. Those running things into the ground???? Well they may want to rent instead of buy. But then again, the taxpayers end up winning there.
While I'm making insinuations about the Oshkosh School Board this morning, I also have a money saving suggestion for you. You want to hire a consulting firm to compare Doctor Heilmanns' contract with the deals signed by other superintendents in the area? You're in luck. All of those contracts are considered part of the public record and must be turned over by the district upon request. We have copies of a couple superintendents' deals right here in the Newsroom and we didn't have to pay anyone to get them. Each member take a district or two--put in your open records request with their clerks--get the contracts for free. Then make copies for everybody else on the board and compare them all side-by-side. You need a consultant for that??? Geez, no wonder we can barely afford Middle School Mandarin Chinese in this district.