Contract doesn’t prohibit Ackerman from releasing bonus evaluation

    The schools superintendent has refused to release the performance evaluation that earned her a 65 thousand dollar bonus, on top of her 338 thousand dollar salary. But it appears Ackerman could release it if she wanted to.

    Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has refused to release the performance evaluation that earned her a 65 thousand dollar bonus, on top of her 338 thousand dollar salary.  But it appears Ackerman could release it if she wanted to.

    The School District told WHYY and several news organizations that Ackerman’s evaluation was not covered by the state open records law, and that they were thus not required to release it. Ackerman later cited provisions in her employment contract as a basis for refusing the release the evaluation.

    WHYY asked employment law expert Alice Ballard to review Ackerman’s contract, and she concluded that Ackerman is free to make the evaluation public with the consent of the School Reform Commission, which oversees the school district and its executive staff.

    Barry Kauffman is Executive Director of the good government group Pennsylvania Common Cause.  He says there’s a distinction between what government officials have to do and what they should do.  And, he says, when there’s a bonus involved, the public should be able to know why an official got that bonus.

    “Given all the controversy, certainly at the state level regarding bonuses, it may be in the public interest and certainly in the interest of the people and the reputation of the people involved for that information to disclose to demonstrate why a bonus was deserved.”

    In a statement, Ackerman said – quote – “the SRC has repeatedly said that I exceeded the benchmarks outlined in the evaluation criteria.”

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