Three written rebukes issued by the Benjamin Logan Schools’ board of education to its superintendent over the course of about six weeks beginning in early March detail a deteriorating relationship between school board members and superintendent Dave Harmon.
The school board provided a written assessment to Harmon March 2 detailing a number of problems that members had identified with his job performance. Two formal written reprimands followed on April 6 and 20 — the second of which came on the same day Harmon was placed on paid administrative leave.
At a May 4 special meeting, the school board approved a severance package with Harmon that resulted in his resignation as superintendent, effective July 31. In exchange for his letter of resignation, the board has agreed to pay Harmon 10 months of his remaining salary. For now, he remains on paid administrative leave.
According to terms of the severance agreement, Ben Logan will pay Harmon a total of $96,500 by April 1, 2021. Additionally, Harmon would be due monthly compensation in the amount of $9,650 beginning June 1, 2021 through, Dec. 1, 2021, if he has not found “comparable employment” with a, “gross salary of at least $115,000.”
In addition to the salary payments, the district has also agreed to pay $25,000 “less appropriate withholdings” as a, “full and complete payment of the continuity stipend set forth in Harmon’s Employment Contract.”
A separate payment totaling $27,565.01 “less appropriate withholdings” will also be paid by the district, “as a complete payout for his accrued and unused vacation.”
In all, the district will pay Harmon at least $149,065 to resign as superintendent; and that’s assuming he finds “comparable employment” that would pay at least $115,000 per year by June 1, 2021.
The school board has reasoned that’s an investment worth making to part ways with a superintendent in whom it had clearly lost confidence, a review of Harmon’s personnel file shows.
Through a public records request, Examiner obtained Harmon’s personnel file, which details the board’s dissatisfaction its superintendent.
In the days immediately following placing Harmon on leave, the school board cited substandard leadership and a lack of organizational direction as reasons for its decision.
The March 2 letter of assessment asserts that in his four-plus years as superintendent, Harmon, “has not set a clear District Vision and Strategy for the success of the District,” and that the school district was, “trending backward in curriculum, finances and planning for the District and its staff under his leadership.”
At particular issue was a sometimes contentious relationship between school administration and the Benjamin Logan Education Association; as well as the failed November 2019 levy in which the board maintained that Harmon mismanaged the campaign and subsequently failed to provide a clear strategy for how the district may go about getting the levy passed in a follow-up election.
“Dave, obviously, the Board has significant concerns with your performance,” the board wrote in the April 20 reprimand. “It is not just one or two minor instances of not doing what we have asked you to do. It almost appears as if you are purposefully ignoring the Board’s reasonable requests.”
In its April 20 reprimand letter, board members cited the following deficiencies in Harmon’s job performance:
• The Board requested that you prepare an annual business plan. Although the Board specifically requested the plan by March 30, 2020, you have failed to provide it to the board;
• The Board requested that you provide us with evidence of weekly staff meetings. You have failed to provide us with any indication that you are holding weekly staff meetings;
Read more from this story in Saturday’s Examiner.