School business manager: ‘Resignation doesn’t come with anything’

Dr. William Collins.

Dr. William Collins.

Contributed Photo / contributed

“Superintendents are becoming like a Bermuda Triangle,” finance board member Dick Moccia said.

Dawn Norton, the school system’s business manager, was at the finance board’s meeting Tuesday night, Aug. 20, and the resignation of Superintendent of Schools William Collins — for medical reasons, submitted Aug. 19 but effective Aug. 31 — inevitably came up.

Surrounding Dr. Collins’ six-month tenure, the Ridgefield Public Schools have had three interim or acting superintendents since the March 2018 resignation of former Superintendent Dr. Karen Bladwin amid charges of plagiarism.

Interim Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote, who had been serving since July 1 during Collins’ medical leave, will continue leading the school system in the new school year. But she’s technically in retirement, so she can fill-in for only a limited time.

“She’s limited to so many hours,” said finance board Chairman Dave Ulmer.

“Because she’s collecting pension, there’s rules,” added Norton.

Norton was asked about the difference between a resignation and a retirement.

“If someone were retired, they could collect pension, they’re insured,” she said. “Resignation doesn’t come with anything.”

Finance board member Sean Connelly said he understood that because Dr. Collins had served less than a year, the search firm that had helped the school board find and hire him would assist, without additional charge, in finding a replacement for Collins.

But the talk wasn’t only about the money.

“We certainly wish him well in his recovery,” Moccia said.