Mayors to discuss consolidation of superintendent positions

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   SOMERS POINT – Council chambers were jammed Thursday evening, April 24 with residents concerned and many angry over their tax bills.

Many residents stepped up to speak on the budget, asking members of council to find ways to save money.  

Mayor Jack Glasser, who heads the Atlantic County Mayor’s Association, said he is always looking for new opportunities to expand shared services with other communities that will allow the city to maintain the services to which residents are accustomed while saving money at the same time.

Glasser said he has reached out to his fellow Mainland mayors – Rick DePamphilis in Linwood and Jerry McGee in Northfield, about the superintendent of schools positions.

“We are in a very unique position here. Tom Baruffi, the superintendent of the Linwood and Mainland school districts, has announced his retirement. Janice Fipp, the Northfield superintendent of schools, has announced her retirement and I understand we will not be able to keep Robert Previti here for much longer as the interim superintendent in Somers Point,” said Glasser.

“With all four of our districts having an opening for a superintendent, I hope we can begin a dialogue about possibly entering into a shared services agreement with three communities.”

Glasser acknowledged that Baruffi has not recommended the school districts move forward with districts sharing the superintendent, but the mayor added, “I am not in agreement with Tom Baruffi.

“This is one of the things we really need to take a look at. I have reached out to the other mayors. I think we need to at least start the conversation and see if there is a savings to have all four school districts with one superintendent,” said Glasser.

Northfield Mayor Jerry McGee said he will be speaking with Glasser, although the two had not spoken by the end of the day, Friday, April 25.

“Shared services are good, but like everything else, they really have to be mapped out carefully before you can move forward. Change is always good and I believe in evolution, but you always have to stay focused and work toward a goal,” said McGee.

Linwood Mayor Rick DePamphilis said Saturday morning that Glasser had reached out to him about meeting on the subject of sharing a superintendent.

“I don’t know if we are the right people to be talking about this because the mayor really has no say about the school board, but I guess you have to start somewhere,” DePamphilis said.

DePamphilis added that there really is not a lot of incentive for districts to consolidate their superintendent as limits imposed by the state cap the salary of school superintendents according to district enrollment. 

Those state-imposed limits begin next year.

Had Baruffi not made plans for his retirement from the Linwood and Mainland school districts, he would have faced a nearly $40,000 cut in his annual salary to come in line with the state-imposed salary cap.

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