School board facing decision over business manager


Wayne McAllister -FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education has until the end of this year to decide what direction it wants to go in concerning the business office.

Borough Controller Wayne McAllister has been doubling as school business manager since the fall of 2009, when he helped turn a budget gap then projected at $2 million into a surplus of $2,518.

In March, the board extended McAllister’s part-time contract, which was set to expire in June, to the end of the year.

At the time, the former board was divided over whether the district needs a full-time business manager and directed Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson to make a recommendation as to what the board should do before the extended contract was up.

The new board, which was elected in May, has not yet taken up the subject.

“We’re not sure what’s going to happen with Wayne,” Chair David Heller said.

Heller said the board has been busy with the high school renovation referendum, which voters recently approved, he expects the board to make a decision before the end of the year.

McAllister has been popular with the new board. Members have often praised his work and some officials are hoping that McAllister will agree to extend his contract again.

“We’re very pleased with the job that he’s doing and very appreciative of his efforts and we’re thrilled that we have him as a member of our staff,” Heller said. “I hope to continue to work with Mr. McAllister as long as he wants to work with us.”

Heller said he personally hoped to extend McAllister’s contract for another period of time, though no change has been yet negotiated. He also said he hoped the school board could participate in a borough strategic evaluation. The current budget has money set aside to hire a consulting firm to look at how the borough runs and what it can do to become more effective and efficient.

“If there are opportunities for the board and the borough to consolidate jobs, I think the board would consider any possible savings,” Heller said.

He pointed to recent decisions for the school board to hire the same legal counsel for employment and contract issues and hire a snowplowing company that also works for the town.

Tindall-Gibson recently said that the decision is up to the board.

“I would definitely hope that Wayne would stay on. He’s a great hand,” Tindall-Gibson said.

When asked whether he would agree to another contract extension, McAllister replied, “There’s always work to be done, but that’s strictly up to the board to decide on.”