Abbey to make $183K as interim superintendent
WESTPORT — David Abbey will receive a total salary of $183,956 while working as interim superintendent of Westport schools, his newly released employment contract reads.
The agreement, which the Westport News obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, was signed by Abbey and Board of Education Chairman Mark Mathias on May 7.
Mathias said Abbey’s salary is based off a percentage of former Superintendent Colleen Palmer’s pay, which before her leave was $300,411.
From May 8 to June 30 of this year, the board will pay Abbey a salary of $44,217. For the period beginning July 1, 2019, through the end of his contract on June 30, 2020, Abbey will receive $139,739, representing about 45 percent of Palmer’s salary.
“That is how we determinate the rate,” Mathias said.
The contract additionally includes reimbursements for travel expenses on school business, as well as sick and vacation benefits.
Since Abbey is a retired school administrator, “a condition precedent to this agreement is the approval by the Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement System of this employment” in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes, the contract says.
Palmer was placed on paid leave for medical reasons in April, but continues to receive her full salary until she officially leaves Westport schools.
Last year Palmer topped the list of Westport’s highest-paid town employees, and will be paid about $5,777 per week and $138,648 in total until August.
The terms of Palmer’s retirement package were not stipulated in her separation agreement.
In the weeks since Palmer’s March 14 announcement, information came out about the alleged turmoil in the district over which she presided. A survey released a few days before Palmer announced her resignation showed widespread discontent, distrust and concern among Westport school administrators.
The night before the announcement, the Westport Parent Teacher Association sent a letter to the education board calling for a “third-party independent investigation” into the workplace culture of town schools.
Palmer did not return to the district after she told administrators she would be away due to a “family emergency” on March 22, at which time Assistant Superintendent Anthony Buono took charge, although his title as acting superintendent was not solidified until an April 8 education board meeting.
Buono’s salary as acting superintendent remained the same as the $215,000 salary he earns as assistant superintendent.
Includes previous reporting by Sophie Vaughan and Melanie Espinal