Business manager admits errors, contract shortened
Rockland — Regional School Unit 13 Business Manager Scott Vaitones' contract will expire in June 2014 — one full year early, according to terms of a settlement between him and the district.
Vaitones also admits accounting errors were made and accepts responsibility for them.
Details of the settlement were released by Board Chairman Esther "Tess" Kilgour Feb. 19.
His contract will expire June 30, 2014, rather than June 30, 2015.
The district agrees to withdraw its termination proceedings of Vaitones' employment that began Jan. 21. The board voted Feb. 12 following a two-hour closed door session to settle with the business manager.
Vaitones was placed on paid administrative leave in mid-November by former Superintendent Lew Collins. The two had a disagreement over budget items; Vaitones contends there was an over-expenditure in the special education budget, but Collins and district auditors both say a shortage in the food service budget, which the business manager is responsible for, is to blame for budget problems.
Board members Kilgour and Donald Robishaw of Rockland voted against the settlement.
"Mr. Vaitones acknowledges that significant errors were made in the accounting for the RSU expenses under his management and accepts responsibility for these errors. The existence of these accounting errors was a reasonable basis for the RSU to initiate termination proceedings," the settlement states.
Vaitones will remain the business manager until June 30 subject to an action plan drafted by the superintendent relating to his work and the normal expectations of that position, it states.
Also under the agreement, the business manager will release the district from any and all claims, damages, complaints, grievances, causes of action, suits liabilities, demands and expenses, including attorney fees, of any nature whatsoever.
The agreement states that Vaitones and RSU 13 desire to resolve their employment-related dispute without further expenditure of time, resources, or money for the well-being of the district.
Kilgour issued the following statement:
"As the RSU 13 Board Chair, I feel I need to explain why the Board of Directors voted to settle its termination hearing of the Business Manager. For the past four months RSU 13 has been front page news for all the wrong reasons.
"Our district has suffered through a vote of no confidence in our former superintendent, his subsequent resignation agreement, and finally a very public and divisive termination hearing for the business manager. These highly publicized events, through all forms of media, have undermined the communities’ confidence in the Board’s ability to lead the education of RSU13’s students.
"It was with this negative publicity in mind that the Board decided to resolve the dismissal hearing in order to put this series of events behind us and to begin to better serve the needs of the district.
"The board has agreed to bring Mr. Vaitones back only until June 30, 2014 which is when his contract will now expire. During the next 4 months Mr. Vaitones will operate under close monitoring to ensure that his same errors are not repeated. Mr. Vaitones has acknowledged that he alone is responsible for his significant errors and takes full responsibility. Mr. Vaitones also acknowledges that Superintendent Collins and the Board were fully justified in seeking his termination.
"With this chapter closed it is the Board’s resolution to put our focus back on the betterment of student education and move RSU 13 forward."
Vaitones said Feb. 17 he was unsure the exact date he was to return to work.
Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.