Three Village's interim superintendent said Tuesday he has agreed to a voluntary salary freeze for the 2011-2012 school year.
Neil Lederer, whose initial one-year contract with the district was in December, said it was only fair that he should make such a move given the temporary salary freeze on Tuesday.
"Other people are taking hits," Lederer said. "Any leader has to lead and set an example."
Lederer earns a salary of $200,000 but he does not receive health benefits or retirement contributions from the district, which he estimated saves the district around $60,000. He will receive the same salary next year after forgoing an undisclosed raise.
Board president John Diviney called the move gracious.
"He came in as an interim and probably didn’t realize what he was getting involved in," Diviney said.
Tim Hoefer, director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, which runs the website seethroughny.net, described a voluntary pay freeze on the part of a superintendent as a mostly symbolic action that sends a message of cooperation to the rest of a district's employees. While the Three Village district worked out a deal with its teachers union on Tuesday which is said to represent a savings of more than $2 million next year, Hoefer does not see New York unions in general making concessions to the level of what may be needed.
"I think that there have been more concessions and givebacks from administrators and superintendents than from teachers' unions," he said.
In Hauppauge, top administrators agreed last week to a that will save that district $23,177. Hauppauge superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss earns a salary of $258,000.
Lederer retired from the Lindenhurst school district in 2009 after seven years as superintendent. According to the 2008-09 Lindenhurst administrative contract, which Hoefer's organization obtained via Freedom of Information Law request, Lederer earned a base salary of $230,000 with additional benefits totaling $266,551.
Superintendents' salaries have been a hot topic on Long Island for years, but underwent a renewed scrutiny in February after Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a salary cap for superintendents, based on six tiers of school enrollment, which communities could vote to override.
Under his proposal, superintendents of districts with enrollment greater than 6,500 would see their salaries capped at $175,000, the highest tier. Three Village, which served 7,572 students in the 2009-2010 school year, would fall into that tier.