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BOE: Habel Payout More Than $400,000

Former schools Superintendent James Habel gets payout for unused sick and vacation time

The payout for retired superintendent of schools James F. Habel will cost the school district more than $400,000, according to school board President John Tavis.

Tavis during Tuesday's regular Board of Education meeting said that Habel, who retired in June after taking a six-month medical leave, will receive a $408,800 payout for unused sick and vacation time in accordance with a contract that also gives him lifetime health insurance.

Habel was entitled to 106.5 days of unused sick time, at a daily rate of just more than $934 a day, bringing the total to $99,470, Tavis said. Habel, however, used 81 days during his leave of absence.

The former superintendent, Tavis said, also is entitled to 363 days of accrued vacation time, because Habel in 11 years never used his vacation days. At the time of the contract, there was no cap on the amount of payout or number of days that could accrue.

The board has been paying Habel for his accrued time — which is now capped for new superintendents — since 2007, Tavis said.

"We were paying him along the way, at his per diem rate for that year, rather than waiting to the end and paying him at his highest rate," Tavis said. "By doing that -- we would have had to have paid him approximately $30,000 more.''

The board this year will pay Habel for the final 92 days of his accrued vacation time, for a total accrued vacation time paycheck of $309,330.

Maureen Fitzgerald August 15, 2012 at 02:11 PM
But, did the BOE really expect him to work for 11 years without using a vacation day when the contract was negotiated? Hopefully, there are now fail-safes in contracts that prevent that. Not that he's not entitled to what was negotiated, because he is, but the huge chunk out of an already way too high school budget is painful. When I think of the things that over $400,000.00 could buy for our students, including bolstering programs, it makes me shake my head. But, done is done. A lesson learned, I hope.
Lee88 August 15, 2012 at 02:43 PM
$400,000 for what? Being arrogant, condescending, staff abuse, screwing the entire town or having the Board of Ed. in his back pocket and basically agreeing to everything he wanted including an inflated contract that goes against all common sense?
Lindsay August 15, 2012 at 02:47 PM
good salaries for good public employees / reasonable pensions (if 401 k programs can't be instituted ) / and other such things are fine with most tax paying citizens ---- but unsed sick & vacation time iaccruing as a payout is nothing more than theiving malfesaence masquerading as something else. At it's heart are 2 things : politicians looking to buy votes with other peoples money (taxpayers) and employees all too willing to help them, by voting as a reliable "block" (I know, not all do that). Still ..... this "payout is vulgar by any standards.
bobbotb August 15, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Blame the board of ed. Be careful of who you vote for.
Really? August 15, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I hate to repeat mysellf, but does anyone really believe the man didn't take vacation for 11 years? I'm finding that more than a little hard to swallow. Who was in charge of keeping track of his time? Would they sign an affidavit stating that he didn't take any? Sounds like an investigation is needed.
Stonewalled August 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM
OCB- excellent question. You want to know who the board members were that approved those contracts, look no further than the Township Committee and township appointees. At least 2 committee members (who are responsible for spending your township tax money), one who is up for re-election this year and who hired Habel, were on the board of education and approved Habel's contract(s). The other was the mayor last year. If voters would educate themselves on the candidates, they wouldn't put irresponsible people in positions that could further harm the town. Please do your research..
Eliot W. Collins August 15, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I do not have to pay for the salary of professional athletes or private industry CEO's. Public employees (including those who are educators) ARE different.
Don Harris August 15, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Cant believe he can get away with lying about vacation time, I own a Condo in the same complex as James and he is there every year for at least a week every winter. Here is a link to our complex http://anywhoyp.yellowpages.com/whitepages/show?fapid=eyJlbWFpbGFkZHIiOiIiLCJtaWRkbGVuYW1lIjoiRiIsImZpcnN0bmFtZSI6IkphbWVzIiwibGFzdG5hbWUiOiJIYWJlbCIsImNvbXBhbnluYW1lIjoiIiwicGhvbmUiOiIiLCJjb3VudHJ5IjoiVVMiLCJsb25nIjoiIiwibGF0IjoiIiwiemlwIjoiMzQ2OTgiLCJzdGF0ZSI6IkZMIiwiY2l0eSI6IkR1bmVkaW4iLCJzdHJlZXR1bml0IjoiIiwic3RyZWV0IjoiTWlsYW5vIENpciIsInN0cmVldG51bSI6IjEyOTYiLCJ0eXBlIjoiUiJ9&section=name
DUKE August 15, 2012 at 04:49 PM
At the time I am sure that his contract was in line with all Superintendents. If you think about it...none of the teachers or administrators ever need to take vacation because many are already built in( christmas, winter break, easter, yada yada yada!!). Their vacation days are on top of all those days. That is why most build up vacation and/or sick days. The state did get smart and recently put a cap on these days for Superintendants and Business Admin. Our adminstrators are still currently on the old Habel system...I belive the teachers too. So if posters what to be angry go find out at a BOE meeting what current negotiated contracts say. And by the way...their contracts are being negotiuated right now. Let's see what this BOE will do. AT THE HIGH SCHOOL...I'll bet most taxpayers don't even realize that high school teachers under the current contract only have to teach 5 classes per day. When they switched to the new schedule those teachers now teach 3 classes one day and two classes the next(new block schedule). They refuse to teach more than that. THAT IS ABSURD!! I'm sure the kids were in there best interest when they made that decision. It's all about the kids right? And we wonder why our schools are starting to struggle. One of these days the PARENTS will wake up. Remember...the money to fund all this is ours...It is up to us to make sure they spend it wisely. John Tavis is one of theirs...he is paid by the same system in his retirement...REALLY!!
DUKE August 15, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Well said Mr. Collins. Private Unions make sense. They are all tied to the private company they represent. If they run it in the ground they go bankrupt and shame on them. But Public Unions are funded by the taxpayer. The politicians are in with the Unions and we are footing the bill. We can't continue down this path.
Ryan Hutchins August 15, 2012 at 06:38 PM
There are people who worked TIRELESSLY for MONTHS to help promote our school budget. I hope our hard work buys you something nice Dr. Habel.
Michael Ferrell August 15, 2012 at 09:53 PM
If any of us didn't take what was available to us in a contract we'd be called fools. Hopefully the lavish "competitive" requirements and perks have not propagated into the new superintendents contract, and will removed from any existing contracts on renegotiation.
Eleanor Rigby August 15, 2012 at 11:24 PM
There are plenty of people who know that he spent vacation time at his Florida home and in the last five years commuted regularly to see his wife. He used no vacation days? Seriously? The prosecutor should look into this.
Wall Mom August 16, 2012 at 02:04 AM
I'm not blaming him for taking what the board gave him in his contract, shame on them. No, I'm outraged that we're supposed to believe that he never took ONE DAY of vacation time in eleven years. Especially when it was well-known throughout town that he routinely took three and four day weekends to visit his wife at their second home in Florida, THAT is what I take exception to. There is greed and then there is avarice, Jim Habel is an example of the latter. Shame on him and all who enabled him to pull this off.
bill sandow August 16, 2012 at 03:32 AM
I thought only Howell was being cheated...
Carlos Volandro August 16, 2012 at 03:35 AM
OMG, I just saw this on News12, seriously? I graduated High School in the 90s and this guy was the superintendent destroying the district. I remember when the budget was voted down and our teachers couldn't even use paper to give us handouts, Habel gave himself a 60k car on the taxpayers dime. How could you have not gotten rid of him over 15 years later? Meanwhile, from what I hear from people who still live in town, he drove the district into the ground. Get your act together Wall, get the BOE out of there and elect some respectable citizens.
Carlos Volandro August 16, 2012 at 03:39 AM
For those of you thinking Habel actually didn't use those vacation days...check out his resume letter that he sent to a Florida district in 2008. Apparently, he spent plenty of time in Florida during his tenure...by his own admission! http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/sites/tampabay.com.blogs.gradebook/files/images/typepad-legacy-files/49761.habel.pdf
tom August 16, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Is he there when school is closed?
tom August 16, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Wall mom, maybe he took the days off "unpaid" so he could bankroll his unused time? I know I would...If I were making his salary, what's one day off unpaid????
Allenwoodie August 16, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Interesting. His resume claims that he was a part time resident in Florida. Administrative staff do not have summers off when the kids are out of school. They are supposed to be working. So that cannot be the reason that he claimed to be a part time resident of Florida. He must have been using vacation time! Or maybe he resided in Florida while on one of several medical leaves that he took while working for the taxpayers of Wall. I know for a fact that he took extended medical leave on at least 2 occasions. This man has cost the taxpayers tons of money!! While on medical leave a couple of years ago, we paid Sandra Brower to "fill in" for Habel for an additional $500 per day over her salary!! When my boss goes on vacation I do his job because it has to be done and I get nothing but a thank you. That's just what you do when you are second in command. This BOE had better wake up!! This is irresponsible! And bet your butt that the new superintendent will or does have the same lavish contract. The BOE probably has no intention of changing how they hand out our money. The educational programs will continue to get squeezed while the Administration cashes in. This makes me sick.
DUKE August 16, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Allenwoodie...it is a joke. Think about it...The teachers just received a 0%,3%,3% raise on their last contract. Now that in itself is not so bad because the 0% averages it 2% a year over the 3 years. With the new negotiations if they give more than 2% on avg then our kids will get demolished. Reason why?...Budgets are capped at 2%. So if we pay teachers more than 2% raises the money will come from other places in the budget. I believe right now over 80% of the budget goes to salaries and benefits. The rest of the budget is getting squeezed. That is why we are seeing all kinds of cuts year to year. Overtime the cumulative effect is devistating. Why do you think our sports complex is substandard. It is just not Wall...it's in most districts that are not abbott districts. Go visit Netune or Long Branch.
Allenwoodie August 16, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Check out the article in the Coast Star today. We are paying Habel for 363 vacation days that he "earned" over 11 years. That's 33 vacation days per year! That's over 6 weeks vacation!! I am outraged!
Stonewalled August 16, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Duke, your lack of relevant, factual information is astonishing. What does the payout to Habel have to do with teachers or unions? What is relevant is who were the board of ed members that approved Habel's contracts and perks. Tavis and the new group of boe members had nothing to do with it and, in fact, were voted in BECAUSE of, in large part, Habels abuse of the board, public and ssystem. In addition, is your real concern "the substandard sports complex"? If it is you need to check your priorities because they are not in line with the real issues facing the boe. Moreover, you're comparing apples to oranges because Neptune and LB are Abbott Districts and are funded differently than Wall. Please educate yourself before you rant..
Tom Coyle August 17, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Duke is still beating the "Re-Elect The Old Guard" drum from last spring. Which buddy of your's got voted out Duke? And put away the "greedy teachers" schtick. Even Christie dropped that. New Jersey has the third best schools in the nation. Ask a family from Mississippi how New Jersey schools are "starting to struggle". And please proofread your posts. Somewhere, your fourth grade teacher is shaking his head at your syntax and grammar.
DUKE August 17, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Coyle you are a very biased man. I was actually very supportive of Tavis. He has been the reason for my discontent. He just isn't the person I thought he was. Too bad we couldn't duplicate more Tonzola's. It's not my fault you can't see thru the trees. You have to try harde and get better facts and just don't repeat what you hear. Keep trying!!
JerseyShore August 17, 2012 at 04:08 AM
11 years, no vacation days? Really?? There is so much that appears wrong with this. Taxpayers need to know who their BOE representatives are and care enough to get out there and vote to prevent people like this milking the system and robbing the students.
Martin Guiddy August 18, 2012 at 04:34 PM
If I saw this guy walking down the same side of the street as me, I'd spit in his face. This is criminal in everyway... And this effing BOE wonders why they can't pass ANY of their budgets.
Wall Taxpayer September 13, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Professional athletes and CEOs are not paid with taxpayer money. Big difference
john Malkowski May 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Tom Coyle is a small immature man who thinks he is intelligent... Far from it. Who cares about proofreading...you are not writing an essay. Stick you syntax and grammar where the sun doesn't shine.
john Malkowski May 07, 2013 at 12:45 AM
Me too! He is a dirtbag.

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