Superintendent's contract includes no penalties if he accepts new job

WAAY 31 talked with Huntsville attorney Tommy Siniard who says, because of the contract Superintendent Matt Akin signed with Huntsville City Schools, there’s really nothing holding him back from leaving.

Posted: Apr. 12, 2018 5:42 PM
Updated: Apr. 13, 2018 8:24 AM

WAAY 31 spent the day asking how Superintendent Matt Akin can leave Huntsville schools just one year after signing a three-year contract.

It’s a deal worth almost $200,000 a year, but no penalties if he decides to quit.

WAAY 31 talked with Huntsville attorney Tommy Siniard who says, because of the contract Superintendent Matt Akin signed with Huntsville City Schools, there’s really nothing holding him back from leaving.

“I understand the angst of taxpayers and the question marks about, ‘How does he get all these benefits and not have any penalties?'" Tommy Siniard said.

Siniard says the contract Superintendent Matt Akin signed back in March of 2017 is a very appealing one.

“This contract was obviously sweetened in favor of the employee," Siniard said. "And sometimes that’s done to attract good talent, which our board has always tried to do.”

This sweetening includes up to $10,000 for moving expenses, and, according to the contract, if Akin gives a 90-day notice before leaving, he doesn’t have to pay any of it back.

“Conceivably, he could’ve moved here one month, stayed one month, collected the ten thousand dollar moving expense, give a notice, and then move three months later," Siniard said.

On top of the $10,000 for moving, Akin’s making $195,000 a year and gets $900 a month for personal car payments.

Parents like Shantell Parson don’t understand why the district didn’t include any penalties.

"Anybody can take that position then and leave at any given point," Parson said. "So then you’re saying it’s okay to take a position and leave.”

School board president Elisa Ferrell didn’t want to talk about details of Akin’s contract or what the board may do in the future.

But Siniard warned about making the same decisions again.

“Being aware of the costs, that there might be some more penalties if a person left very early, because there is a cost both of money, manpower, and time to bring in a new superintendent," he said.

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