The Adamowski Pension: A Story of one Education Reformers Sense of “Entitlement”

Forty-five thousand teachers and nine thousand administrators have managed to follow Connecticut law and acquire Department of Education certification in order to participate in the Teachers Retirement System, but Steven Adamowski and the Malloy Administration continue to believe that one of Malloy’s “education reform experts” and  “Special Master” for the Windham School System, deserves an exemption from that “burden.”

Readers will recall that earlier this year, despite a $9 billion short-fall in Connecticut’s Teacher Pension Fund, Governor Malloy slipped language into his “Education Reform” bill to retroactively enlarge Adamowski’s teacher retirement pension by giving him credit for the years he served as the Superintendent of Schools in Hartford, despite the fact that he was not certified to be the superintendent.

This “gift” could amount to an additional $27,000, per year, when Adamowski retires.

In a display of courage, the Connecticut Legislature stripped that language out of the proposal bill before passing Malloy’s education reform bill.

But what was left unaddressed was the Malloy Administration’s on-going effort to get Adamowski credit for his time as “Special Master,” even though he still hasn’t gotten the certification he would need to get back into the retirement system.

Here is the latest…

Buried deep within the Connecticut State Statutes, Section 183b, subsection (E) of subsection (26) is language that was added in 2007.  The language expanded the definition of a “Teacher” (for the purpose of participating in the Teacher Retirement System) to include “(E) a member of the staff of the State Education Resource Center [SERC]…employed in a professional capacity while possessing a certificate or permit issued by the State Board of Education.”

The language put SERC’s employees into the Teacher Retirement System (as long as they possessed a certificate or permit issues by the State Board of Education). SERC is the agency that Commissioner Pryor has been using to get no-bid contracts to out-of-state education reform companies that have been helping develop and implement his “reform” agenda.

Well, back when the Windham take-over took place, rather than having to deal with the state laws pertaining to the hiring of consultants, the State Department of Education simply directed the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to hire Adamowski, via a no-bid contract, to serve as the state’s Special Master.

The contract, including a salary and benefits package in excess of a quarter of a million dollars, was signed by Adamowski, the Executive Director of SERC and the State Commissioner of Education.

The contract included language that reads “Dr. Adamowski will be allowed access to the same benefits as stated in the SERC Employee Handbook that other eligible SERC employees are offered, except as otherwise modified herein.  Dr. Adamowski will receive 25 days of accrued vacation time per year.  Dr. Adamowski will receive 15 days of sick time per fiscal year.  Dr. Adamowski will also be eligible for 3 days of paid personal time per fiscal year.  Also, Dr. Adamowski will be eligible to continue membership in the Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement System…”

That language raises two key questions.  Is Adamowski actually an “employee” of SERC (or is he a consultant), and if he is an employee, has he now acquired the proper certification or permit that is required under that language in 183b (26) (E) so that he can tap into the teacher’s retirement system.

In April, I submitted a request to SERC asking whether Adamowski was an employee or a consultant.  Despite repeated requests, SERC has refused to provide that information claiming it was part of Adamowski’s personnel file, which is exempt information under the Freedom of Information Act.

(As an aside, since SERC is a quasi-public entity, the public has a right to know whether an individual is or is not an employee, but for that, I’ll have to appeal to the Freedom of Information Commission).

But the more important questions are why did the Malloy Administration allow this language into Adamowski’s contract knowing that Adamowski doesn’t have the required certification and why are payments now being made into the pension fund, on Adamowski’s behalf, so that he can add these two years to his future state teachers retirement pension?

The State Board of Education is meeting today.  Among the agenda items is an update from Adamowski about his progress in Windham.

If Commissioner Pryor or Special Master Adamowski see this blog, perhaps they could explain to the State Board and the public what is going on with Adamowski’s pension and why they think one well-connected “education reformer” deserves to collect even more public funds despite the fact that he refuses to play by the same set of rules that everyone else has to play by?

  • Matthew Valenti

    What can we do about this? 

    • jonpelto

      Emails/Calls to State Board of Education Members and requests to legislators to investigate this outrage are probably good places to start. 
      http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2683&q=322228  and 
      http://www.cga.ct.gov/

      • sharewhut

         Will not do any good, at best you’ll get a “Thank You for your correspondence”  robo-reply and the sheeples of this state will blindly keep voting these bozos in as long as they’re on the ‘D’ line…

      • TMS

        You’re so nice Jon, a little delusional with your suggestion, but still nice.

        • jonpelto

          I was feeling generous – that moment is gone. I’m back to the idea we meet outside their mtg with out pitch forks and go from there.
          Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

        • TMS

          Ah! Welcome back!

        • jonpelto

          Just wait till you see what I found today on our remarkable Mr. Vallas (Pelto said knowingly)
          Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

    • TMS

      My suggestion is to vote against any existing state legislator, especially the ones patting themselves on the back for this compromised reform bill. On the surface they pretended to take out the most publically objectionable elements of Malloy’s proposal, but didn’t bother to remove the dirty little details that are even more corrupt than what was exposed in the media. Their excuse is that the revised bill came out so late that they didn’t have time to read it. Well it’s their job to read it and they should have taken the time to do so. Would you sign a binding contract without reading it first? Not many smart people would, but they don’t care because it’s not their kids who will be affected. If they keep dumbing down public education so the future workforce will only be making minimum wage, who do they think will be able to pay for their lucrative retirement packages?   

    • Call Attorney General Jepson and ask him to take a look at this and also call Blumenthal at the same time–we need to get to the bottom of this–I personally will sue if my tax money pays for his pension–when he does not qualify in any way—get certified pal and show up for work every once in awhile–To Stefan–this guy is an embarrassment–get rid of him now and I will believe in you–then put people of ability into positions that can cause positive change—Adamowski and Vallas have sucked from the public teat for too long—please kick them to the curb and start with your OWN people–NOW–if not then we know what you are all about–I want to believe in you–please help me to do so–Tom

  • Brutus2011

    This is a hint or a portal or a clue of what is truly wrong with our public education system.
    Money and cronies and inside jobs and deals in smoke filled rooms.
    In other words, corruption funded by shenanigans at the public trough.
    Teacher’s compensation is about enough to keep wolves from the door.
    Adminstrator’s compensation is where the “American Dream” is today.
    And 6 figure pensions are what the ed managers look forward to as they move toward retirement.
    If you doubt the corrosiveness of the financial incentive in this whole education reform bit, then just consider this fact:

    $10 thousand per month plus $100 thousand per year pensions……

    What administrator or education manager would give that up?

    And does this begin to explain why there is so much propaganda generated to confuse people about education in CT?

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