Rivera OK’d to make hires without board approval

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s new superintendent of schools has unprecedented power — at least temporarily.

Manuel Rivera was authorized by the Board of Education on Tuesday night to hire teachers without its approval until Oct. 1. He was also authorized to hire interim administrators until Oct. 1, which board member Steve Colarossi said had never happened before.

“We have a number of vacancies for which we need to hire interim school administrators prior to the beginning of the school year,” Colarossi said. “We are in such an emergency situation in which we need to get some transitional people, particularly at Norwalk High School, we are authorizing the superintendent to make any interim appointments that he feels are necessary and proper up until Oct. 1. We’ve actually never done it with administrative people, but it makes sense for him to have the authority.”

Colarossi made the motion to give Rivera that authority after an executive session. The vote was unanimous.

Rivers is expected to stay within budget with all hires.


13 responses to “Rivera OK’d to make hires without board approval”

  1. Anne Sullivan

    When has the BOE ever disagreed with a proposed hire?

  2. mbarbis

    There were some caveats to this imposed by the Board … the positions need to already be funded and certain positions need to be filled with individuals that have taken and passed the Foundations In Reading exam

  3. Anne Sullivan

    Thank you for the clarification reply – the foundations of reading test is only a state requirement for teachers on the first rung of certification, and a recent requirement at that – won’t our applicant pool be limited to less experienced educators because more experienced educators/administrators have not had to take this test to be certified? I apologize for ending this with another question, mbarbis. I am extremely familiar with the FRT though I haven’t had to take it yet.

  4. marjoriem

    Unprecedented power for a new superintendent? Appoint anyone you want? I hope our taxpayers are paying attention when cronies from New York and other friends are permanent fixtures on the third floor. I’m having déjà vu from the Sal Corda days. I hope I am wrong.

  5. Under the City Charter and Board of Education policy, the hiring of teachers, administrators and managers must be approved by the BOE. We only have the authority to approve or reject.
    The past practice has been to authorize the superintendent each summer to hire teachers without BOE approval because the BOE meets infrequently during the summer and there is a need to fill teaching positions as quickly as possible. For some reason, the BOE didn’t grant that authority to the superintendent prior to last night’s meeting.
    Also, there are a number of administrative vacancies that must be filled with interim appointees prior to the start of school (such as housemaster positions at Norwalk High School). There posts are critical to the operation of our schools. So, the superintendent was given the authority to hire interim staff pending our review of final appointees to these positions.
    By law, the superintendent cannot hire positions that are not allocated in the budget and must follow the established salary guidelines (and must keep within budget limits).

  6. Marjoriem, your hopes will be granted; the appointments will not be of “cronies”. BTW, do you ever have anything positive to contribute? Just curious.

  7. marjoriem

    Mike Lyons, In Norwalk I have seen so many appointments for positions that were a waste of money. I am tired of history repeating itself time and time again. You are right in that I have no faith in the process we used to hire this Superintendent, and in the decisions made (and we continue to repeat through time) regarding giving the new guy everything he wants. If you are right about putting complete faith in this new superintendent, I will be the first person to offer to eat my hat. How’s that? If I am right, will you admit it?

  8. Prepare to eat your hat! 🙂

  9. marjoriem

    Mike Lyons, you didn’t answer part 2 of the question. IF you are wrong, will you come back on here and admit it? (I am hoping you are right, BTW….And if so, I will just have to find a chocolate hat ).

  10. Don’t Panic

    I am deeply troubled to hear Mr. Colarossi suggest that the BOE routinely opts to bypass the charter and the BOE’s own policy to delegate hiring decisions to the superintendant, especially when that individual is new and the team is not yet familiar with his philosophy through past experience.

    Is the hiring process THAT much of a fire drill every single year?

    How infrequent are the summer BOE meetings? If the schedule is the problem, shouldn’t the solution be to schedule more meetings?

  11. Piberman

    Friends it’s common practice for Boards of substantial organizations public and private to authorize its CEO substantial autonomy re hires and not micro-manage. No Supt can be successful if the BOE micro-manages. The BOE had hired an outstanding Supt. now let him do the job to the best of his abilities. Norwalk has a history of hiring less capable Supts and micromanaging. We know how that process worked out. So lets all relax.

  12. Don’t Panic- You make an interesting point regarding the requirement that the BOE approve all certified hiring. The concern that arises each summer is that as vacancies occur, there is a need to fill those positions without delay- particularly given that teachers being hired over the summer are often considering offers from other districts. As a result it is important to give the superintendent the authority to make those decisions. Because every teacher must be certified, there is an objective standard that must be met. And, because the teacher’s salary is not subject to negotiation (but is instead established by contract), there is protection that a “sweetheart” deal would be given to a “crony”.

  13. Marjoriem, if wrong I’ll admit it. The chocolate hat sounds like a good plan!

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