Once again, the largest single employer in the Victor Valley is without a head of personnel.
At their Monday night meeting, the Hesperia Unified school board fired Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Matt Spencer "without cause," by a 3-2 vote, with board members Hardy Black and Anthony Riley dissenting.
Spencer will still remain on the HUSD's payroll for the next 12 months, at his current salary of $149,432. He will also be eligible for district-paid health benefits for the next 12 months, or until he gets another job -- whichever comes first.
His termination comes just weeks after the district stopped paying benefits to Spencer's successor. Karen Kelly was fired without cause in June 2009. Unlike Spencer, she continued to get raises to her base $138,653 salary, travel expenses and cell phone stipend. Her contract finally ended in April 2011.
Between Kelly and Spencer, the district briefly contracted with Total Schools Solutions, which provided Mike Rossi to fill the position. The district terminated that contact last summer.
The vote to axe Spencer came in closed session, and privacy rules prevent district officials from speaking as to the particulars of why he lost his job, but board president Chris Bentley would speak about the decision in generalities on Tuesday.
"Matt Spencer came in on a 3-2 vote," approved by Black, Riley and former board member Robert Kirk, "and he went out on a 3-2 vote," Bentley said. "I wish him well doing whatever it is he's going to do next, and I certainly hope that the HUSD can find a path that's going to correct a lot of the turmoil that has been in that position over there."
Whether the district will replace Spencer, or forge ahead without an assistant superintendent of personnel for a time, remains to be seen.
"At this point, we are awaiting a recommendation from the superintendent," said Bentley.
Ironically, given the turmoil associated with the position now, the most recent two superintendents -- Hank Richardson and Mark McKinney -- held the assistant superintendent of personnel positions before their promotion to the top position in the district.
The next meeting of the HUSD school board will be held on June 13, 2011, at 6 p.m. in the HUSD Educational Support Center Annex, 15576 Main Street.
Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.