Update, 4:45 p.m.: Robert Eicher, president of the Pelham School board said a contract has been sent to Charles Wilson and Wilson is expected to sign and return it to the school district today.
Pelham School officials are hopeful a name from the past will be able to help steer them through some of the difficult times that lie ahead during the next year or so.
The school board named Charles Wilson as their choice for interim schools superintendent. The board has been search for an interim superintendent to fill in for current Superintendent Dennis Lauro after he retires at the end of the year.
School officials are hopeful that Wilson, who served as the district’s superintendent prior to Lauro, will fill in for a six-month period. Officials are aiming to have a new, permanent schools chief in place in time for the 2013-2014 school year.
The resolution approved by the board gives, the board president finalize terms and execute a contract for Wilson at a salary of $1,000 a day. Wilson would not be eligible for benefits.
“Dr. Wilson was a very, well respected superintendent in Pelham,’’ said Will Cavanaugh, a member of the school board. “He and Dennis, together, worked tirelessly for many years building the district...I, very enthusiastically, support Dr. Wilson.”
All of the members appeared to have shared Cavanaugh’s view of Wilson as a candidate Monday night.
But board members Peggy O’Leary, Marianne Gilland and Lisa Kiernan shared concerns about the process used to interview and, eventually, choose Wilson for the position.
These concerns were brought up at a board meeting , when a group of community members said school officials weren’t being transparent enough in their search process for a temporary schools chief.
“The procedure normally followed were not in this case and reasons may be given, but they do not negate the fact that process could have been better,” Leary said. “I’m saddened that what will ultimately be a beneficial decision made on behalf of the Pelham public school has to be made under a cloud of mistrust.”
Leary said she would have liked the board to have proceeded more deliberately and interview more candidates before making a decision.
Newly elected school board members Michael Recca and Madeline Smith also supported the Wilson as a candidate for interim superintendent. But they also said that the would have liked to process to be more open.
"Going forward, I look forward to a very open process where there is a lot of discussion among the board and lots of discussion about process and about the decisions that are being made," Smith said.
Robert Eicher, the school board president, said Wilson had received an offer from another school district and a decision had to be made quickly. Wilson had a deadline of today to accept or reject the other offer that was made to him, according to Eicher.
“He was kind enough to give us some extra time, to negotiate some extra time with that school district and to give this board the opportunity to consider retaining him,” Eicher said.