DeLand, FL - When Volusia County School Board (VCSB) Attorney Ted Doran brought forward an agreement to provide Dr. Carmen Balgobin with a salary increase of $50,000 annually, Volusia United Educators (VUE) President Elizabeth Albert said it was a slap in the face.
The subject was brought up during hour six of a School Board meeting that began at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10. Albert said it happened after Ida Wright, who had presided over her last meeting that night, had made her goodbyes to the School Board. "Ted Doran says "Oh well, by the way, we do have one more piece of business we have to complete, then he rolls out this agreement that he recommended the Board make a motion and approve, which is that, in and of itself, is very suspect." She said that she wonders why the hired attorney is driveing the motion-making of the Board.
Albert says VUE has a lot of problems with Balgobin getting that increase, especially with the fact that Balgobin made the statement that she would not take her salary increase until all the other employees had been given theirs. School Board members agreed to that statement. "Then all of a sudden they pull the rug out from under us in the wee hours of the Board meeting, after six hours worth of talking. Then they rush through her agreement for a new annual salary of $195,000."
The fact that they didn't do it in a manner that was above-board, Albert said, is an issue. "It wasn't on the written agenda, it wasn't posted in advance, where the public would have knowledge that it was going to occur. There was also no public partictpation where someone could speak for or against it. She said it was done in a manner that leads to suspicion, it creates distrust, it seems decpetive, and dishonest."
The terms of Balgobin's salary increase have not been released but Albert says they have put in a public records request for the information but doesn't expect to see it quiickly. "We're just going to continue to tell the truth and we're going to let the public and taxpayers, we're going to let everybody know what's going on. That's the one consistent with this new group of people that have come to town. They don't seem to be interested in being transparent or telling the full truth."
The next School Board meeting takes place on Tuesdya, November 17. Newly-elected Board member Anita Burnette will be sworn in. The Board will also choose a new Chair and conduct other organizational members.