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River Dell Board Approves Title Change for One Year Term

For the 2012-13 school year, Thomas Bonfiglio will serve as the district's Assistant Superintendent/Board Secretary so as to complete his school administrator's certification

Since July 2011, River Dell Board Adminstrator Thomas Bonfiglio has been wearing a second hat of  and for the next year, his title will change slightly. During Monday evening's Regional Board of Education, he was appointed as the district's Assistant Superintendent/Board Secretary for the 2012-13 year and after which point he would revert back to a Business Administrator's position only.

The one-year change in title and duties is to allow Bonfiglio, who has been the district's Board Administrator since 1996, the opportunity to undergo a one-year mentorship with an out-of-district program to receive his school administrator's certification. But the approval did not come without controversy.

"I think that making the change here between the two positions is more than a title change," Board member Dorothea Durand said. "Looking at this, there is a lot of work here, not just keeping the business end of school running. This is a lot more work and I'm not sure why we would want to do this, why is it good for River Dell. My question is why do this now and essential spread Tom that thin and why not try this at a later date."

As part of his new duties as the Assistant Superintendent/Board Secretary, Bonfiglio would be instructed by his mentor and overseen by Superintendent Patrick Fletcher the process for assessing and evaluating educational staff members. He already performs evaluations on staff members in the Business Administrator's office.

"I see Tom having an extensive roll in learning the process but he would not have an extensive roll in supervising River Dell teachers for their written evaluations," Fletcher said. "It's a single year appointment so that he can go through an independent mentorship as approved by the state Department of Education."

"Taking into account the recent reports and comments on the River Dell Patch about our , I don't feel that Tom Bonfiglio's position change should be a priority at this time," Michael Gardner, a November candidate for the open Oradell seat with the regional board of education said during the meeting. "We have a two school district, do we need an assistant superintendent position given the fact that there are 11 assistant superintendents in Bergen County and four Board Administrator/Assistant Superintendents in the county. Unemployment in Bergen County is at 8.9%, and 9.6% in the state with a foreclosure rate of 240 homes in Bergen County; yet this board would grant an employee a $3,000 increase. Is that the message we want to send to the taxpayers of River Edge and Oradell at this time."

Based on the district's 2012-13 budget, Bonfiglio was expected to make $154,643 annually. The change in his job title allows for approximately a $3,000 increase to bring his base pay up to $157,000.

Gardner also pointed out that under Bonfiglio's new contract, he would be making more than Fletcher under the new Superintendent Salary Cap guidelines. While  $192,000 under his contract which expires in 2016, at that point, his salary would be downgraded to approximately $155,000 as the district falls between the cap for 1,501-3,000 students enrolled.

Bonfiglio's appointment as the district's Assistant Superintendent/Board Secretary was approved 8-1 with Durand casting the lone "nay" vote.

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