Bentz, who served as interim finance officer after Mike Shockley
left the district on long-term medical disability leave, has
been credited by Superintendent Bruce Harter and school board
president Nancy Doorey, with uncovering a veritable labyrinth of
fiscal problems. Bentz took the Brandywine assignment in April
after retiring as director of business and finance for the
Colonial School District.
Blowman, formerly executive assistant to state Secretary of
Educadtion Valerie Woodruff was hired, effective July 1, as
Brandywine's permanent chief financial officer, the position
that Shockley held.
announced at the board's public hearing on July 9 that Bentz has
agreed to continue to serve on a part-time basis "for as long as
it takes" to work with Bowman to put things back on an even
keel. Harter referred obliquely to a "new law" which permits
to district spokesperson Wendy Lapham, Bentz is being paid at a
daily rate of $459, apportioned to reflect whatever fraction of
a day he works. "The
number of hours per week he works for us varies depending on our
needs and his schedule, especially now that [Blowman] has
started," she said.
Because he is retired, Bentz does not receive employee benefits.
law, it turns out, is a previously little-noticed measure
enacted on the last day of the General Assembly session which
enables retired state pensioners to go to work on a temporary
basis with no limit on what they can earn and without affecting
political parlance, that is called 'double dipping' and, in
normal circumstances, tends to raise constituents' eyebrows.
to overcome that, the bill which was enacted invokes the Sept.
11, 2001, tragedy and prevailing patriotism in a three-part
preamble. The reasoning goes like this: It is likely that
Delawareans will be called into national service as the result
of terrorist attacks, leaving personnel gaps in state agencies.
Bringing back retirees on a temporary basis will eliminate the
need to train new people to handle the jobs. Since that is a
desirable thing, the legislation removes any financial barriers
to doing so.
said, the new law simply changes the old one to allow
"temporary, casual, seasonal or substitute" employment. It does
not specify how the vacancy being filled has to be created nor
set any limit on how long someone can be employed. There is no
expiration date applied to the law beyond a preamble reference
to "retired state employees assisting the state during the
military action arising from the events of Sept. 11." School
districts are state agencies.
measure was sponsored by Senator Nancy Cook and Representative
Nancy Wagner, both of whom represent Kent County districts. But
Senator Dallas Winslow and Representative Wayne Smith, of
Brandywine Hundred, signed on as co-sponsors.
was unable to immediately determine whether any other state
agencies are using or about to use the new law.