Washoe County School District Superintendent Traci Davis, appointed to her post in July after being the district’s top administrator on an interim basis, has an employment contract that pays her a base salary of $238,000 a year.
The contract also grants Davis an $11,900 bonus this month and an $800 monthly allowance for using her own car, among other benefits.
The school board approved the contract last week on a 5-2 vote after listening to comments from its own private lawyer, Mike Malloy, and Ann Morgan, an attorney retained by Davis to negotiate the agreement.
The effective date of Davis’ $238,000 base salary extends back to October 2014 when she was named interim superintendent. At that time her annual salary was set at nearly $184,000.
The contract specifically notes that Davis has been doing the duties of the job since being named interim superintendent and was also responsible for performing the duties she had as deputy superintendent until that position was filled.
The employment contract, scheduled to expire on June 30, 2018, also includes the following provisions:
An automatic longevity bonus on Dec. 15 of each year, beginning this year, in the amount of 5 percent of Davis’ base pay.
A performance bonus up to a maximum of 10 percent of her annual pay if approved by the board after an evaluation. The bonus is entirely up to the board’s discretion.
A vehicle allowance of $800 per month for expenses Davis incurs for using her personal car on district business, rather than using a district-owned car. Davis will also be reimbursed for mileage when she travels outside of Washoe County in her official capacity. There was no discussion at the board meeting on why Davis wants to use her own vehicle.
Reimbursement of attorney’s fees that Davis paid for negotiating the contract. The maximum amount is $5,000.
A tax-sheltered investment annuity, beginning on June 30. The district will contribute $15,000 annually to the annuity for Davis.
An additional yearly contribution to Davis’ account with the Nevada Public Employees Retirement System in an amount that equals a third of Davis’ cost of purchasing a year’s worth of retirement benefits.
A $1,500 annual payment toward the cost of a life-insurance policy.
A total of 25 paid vacation days a year. Davis will be allowed to accrue a maximum of 100 days.
A total of 15 paid sick days a year. She can accrue a maximum of 250 days, of which half are payable upon termination.
Malloy, the board’s attorney, said the agreement does not contain a clause allowing the contract to automatically renew when it expires. The school board has the power to decide if a new contract will be negotiated when the agreement expires in 2018.
In addition, Davis is considered to be an “at-will” employee. As such, the board can terminate her employment agreement at any time for “any lawful reason or no reason, with or without cause,” after providing a 90-day notice, according to the contract. Furthermore, Davis has no right to a hearing before the board or an arbitrator to challenge a termination, which Malloy called extraordinary.
If terminated for cause, Davis can only challenge the firing by filing a lawsuit, the merits of which must be determined by a judge, not a jury.
School board members Nick Smith and Veronica Frenkel, who opposed the contract, said they didn’t agree with giving Davis back pay covering her time as interim superintendent, from October 2014 to July of this year. Smith said he also was concerned about the monthly vehicle allowance.
“The challenge for me is viewing this employment contract as starting” in October 2014 rather than in July, Frenkel said, because of the back pay and because it allows Davis to get a longevity bonus this year.
Board member Howard Rosenberg said he was quite happy with the contract.
“Salaries are at best difficult,” he said. “Back salaries cause grief, but if you’ve done the work then you should be compensated for it. It’s as simple as that.”
Board member Angela Taylor said the contract legally favors the district with its provisions concerning termination. She said Davis “voluntarily made some concessions from the very beginning.”