SOUTH PORTLAND – The top administrators in the South Portland municipal government and school department, have been signed to new contracts.

Last week, the Board of Education granted Superintendent Suzanne Godin a new contract that will increase her annual salary from $112,000 to $115,360, a 3 percent raise. Godin’s contract, which would have expired at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, now runs until June 30, 2014.

And on Monday, the City Council approved a new contract for City Manager Jim Gailey that comes with an annual salary of $109,924. When Gailey was appointed city manager in November 2007, his salary was $98,898. The council’s action extends Gailey’s contract through Nov. 14, 2013.

In extending Godin’s contract, school board members praised her performance.

“I think she is doing a wonderful job for the district,” said Jim Gilboy, District 4 representative on the Board of Education, said of Godin. “It is in our best interest to renew her contract now, so we don’t lose her to another district.”

“I am thrilled they continue to put their faith in me and we continue to move forward together,” Godin said of the contract extension.

Outgoing Chairman Rick Carter said the board began renegotiating with Godin this fall, as is typically done. When she was hired as superintendent in 2007, Godin said she was given a three-year contract, which has been extended by a year annually since then.

From the negotiations, three changes were made to the contract, all resulting in a better benefits package for Godin, who has worked in the district since 2004.

The first change made, Carter said, was to change Godin’s one-time retirement stipend from $6,000 to $14,000 to bring it in line with the retirement stipends for other administrators in the district, including building principals, assistant principals, athletic director and some members of the central administration. Administrators who have been in the district for at least 10 years and who have reached the age of 591?2 years old are eligible for the stipend.

The board also approved changing Godin’s annual annuity, which is part of her benefits package and goes toward retirement, from $5,000 to $7,500.

Gilboy said he is not concerned about the salary increase for Godin, given the fact that she has foregone salary increases the past two years because of tough financial times for the district.

“The biggest thing for me is to ensure South Portland has the best superintendent running our schools and I think we do in Suzanne,” he said.

The increase, Carter said, puts her better in line with other area school superintendents.

“For me, personally, it was about recognizing the high-quality superintendent that we have and recognizing by holding her (without a salary increase) the last two years, she has significantly been behind other area superintendents,” Carter said. “It was time to recognize that we have a wonderful superintendent.”

At its meeting on Monday, the City Council approved a raise and benefits upgrade for Gailey, who has been city manager since 2007.

By a vote of 6-0 – Councilor Tom Blake was absent from the meeting – the council approved the contract for Gailey. Benefits include health, dental and life insurance, and reimbursement for travel and other expenses, as well as vacation and personal time.

Councilor Rosemarie De Angelis said this is the first salary increase, outside of cost of living increases, Gailey has had in three years.

“This contract is in recognition to Jim’s sterling service so far in his tenure as city manager,” said Mayor Tom Coward. “He has done a wonderful job and has gotten better and better as time has gone on.”

Coward said Gailey’s dedication to effectively managing South Portland makes it easy for him and his fellow councilors to focus on longer-term planning and issues for the city.

“I believe this is the best run city in the state,” he said, “We rarely have unforeseen emergencies that can’t be planned for.”

The salary increase, he added, brings Gailey up “to a level he has shown he deserves.”

Jim Gailey, South Portland city managerSuzanne Godin, South Portland superintendent

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