Salerno puts resignation on hold to lead negotiations with new HWRSD superintendent

July 14, 2016 | Chris Goudreau

Former School Committee Chair Peter Salerno has put his resignation from the committee on hold.
Reminder Publications file photo

WILBRAHAM – Former School Committee Chair Peter Salerno has decided to remain on the committee until contract negotiations are completed with Albert Ganem Jr., who was chosen to be the district’s new superintendent in June.

Salerno, who is the sole negotiator for the committee, told Reminder Publications several School Committee members suggested he continue as negotiator. The committee had yet to vote to approve Salerno’s letter of resignation, which he submitted on June 23.

“As soon as the negotiations are concluded, I would then reinstate my resignation, which basically was never voted on in the first place – a protocol that needs to happen,” he explained.

He added the committee consulted with the district’s attorney to examine the legality of his pending departure from the committee while serving as negotiator, which was proven to be legally sound due his letter not being approved.

Salerno, who has served 17 consecutive years on the committee, said he’s negotiated contracts with former Superintendents M. Martin O’Shea and Paul Gagliarducci.

“Overall, over the last 17 years, if you were to add up all the savings that I’ve brought in negotiations, whether they are teacher negotiations or negotiations with retirees or the negotiations at Cathedral High School – the savings associated with just those three things have been close to $15 million. As a nonpaid volunteer, I think I’ve helped.”

He added contract negotiations with Ganem have “matured” and he believes they should be completed “in a week at the most.”

When asked what would happen if negotiations were not successful with Ganem, Salerno replied, “That’s a question for the [committee] to decide.”

School Committee Chair Lisa Morace confirmed the committee plans to have Ganem start next week by representing the district at a superintendent conference on Cape Cod.

Salerno said once negotiations are completed, information such as Ganem’s salary would be a matter of public record.  

After negotiations conclude and the committee approves Salerno’s resignation, a vacancy would need to be filled, he explained.

Salerno said School Committee Chair Lisa Morace would send a letter to Town Clerk Beverly Litchfield and the Board of Selectmen indicating the vacancy.

“Within 30 days after that notice has been received, according to the regional agreement, they must appoint a successor until my term expires, which is June 30, [2017],” Salerno explained.

The Board of Selectmen and four School Committee members from Wilbraham would appoint an individual to fill the vacancy, he noted.

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