School Board amends new superintendent's contract so he can start work sooner

New Quincy Public Schools superintendent Steven Cobb, right, chats with school officials in this Feb. 2 file photo. (H-W Photo/Phil Carlson)
Posted: Feb. 21, 2013 10:29 am Updated: Mar. 7, 2013 11:15 am

By EDWARD HUSARHerald-Whig Staff Writer

The Quincy School Board on Wednesday amended the contract of its newly hired superintendent, Steven Cobb, to enable him to begin working sooner than his scheduled July 1 start date.

The contract addendum calls for the district to pay Cobb $75 an hour -- or a maximum of $600 a day -- for any work he does for the Quincy school system before July 1.

Cobb is still under contract through June 30 with the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Community Schools, where he has been chief academic officer since 2010. However, Cobb told Quincy school officials and The Quincy Herald-Whig when he was hired Feb. 2 that he hopes to start working in Quincy before that contract expires.

"I'm going to try to get to Quincy as soon as I can," he said in an interview.

Joel Murphy, the Quincy School District's business manager currently serving as interim superintendent, said it's not clear when Cobb might be able to start doing some work for the Quincy School District. He said Cobb is still working out arrangements with his current employer.

Cobb had been tentatively scheduled to be in Quincy for Wednesday's board meeting and was going to spend some time familiarizing himself with the district. However, his plans changed and he couldn't come, Murphy said.

The board had slated a special executive session early in its meeting agenda Wednesday night specifically to act on Cobb's contract addendum. But because Cobb couldn't make it to Quincy, the board ignored the scheduled executive session and acted on Cobb's contract later in the night after the open meeting ended and the board went behind closed doors.

The addendum says if Cobb does any work on behalf of Quincy before July 1, he will be considered an at-will hourly employee and will not receive any other benefits except his hourly pay. The contract says he would be reimbursed for his transportation costs but would not be paid for his travel time. He also would receive reimbursement for lodging and meals while traveling between Fort Wayne and Quincy.

During the period preceding his regular contract, Cobb will not have authority to "bind" the School District in any contractual agreements, the addendum says. In addition, Cobb will be prohibited from performing any duties that require certification from the state, the document says.

The School Board hired Cobb Feb. 2 to replace Lonny Lemon, who resigned in June to take a superintendent's job in the Chicago area.

Cobb, 60, has been an educator for 36 years. He has been a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and chief operations officer before he ascended to his current post three years ago. Coming to Quincy will mark his first assignment as a full-fledged superintendent.

Once he starts work July 1, he will be paid an annual salary of $180,000.