Southold, Greenport set to approve superintendent contract

Southold Superintendent David Gamberg, right, and Greenport Superintendent Michael Comanda (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)
Southold Superintendent David Gamberg, right, and Greenport Superintendent Michael Comanda (Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

Both the Greenport and Southold school boards are set to approve a shared-superintendent contract that’s expected to save each district more than $100,000. 

Current Southold superintendent David Gamberg will serve both districts for two years after Greenport Superintendent Michael Comanda retires this summer and each school board has agreed to divide the proposed $235,000 salary equally. The negotiated salary includes a 1.8 percent raise for the second and final year of the contract, he said.

The Southold Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the 12-page contract tonight.

“When you can save an entire salary and benefits package where you’re splitting the benefits, each district is saving at least $100,000,” he said. “We went into this certainly with the anticipation that we will be able to realize further savings and I think a number of people have expressed interest in seeing what we can make happen.”

Records show the two superintendents currently make $393,000 combined — $200,000 for Mr. Comanda and $193,000 for Mr. Gamberg. If the new salary is approved, each district will pay Mr. Gamberg $117,500, with Greenport saving $82,500 and Southold saving $75,500 in salary.

As for benefits, Mr. Gamberg said he’ll continue contributing 15 percent and the districts will split the remaining 85 percent of the nearly $70,000 package.

Mr. Gamberg said more details on the contract will be available soon.

Under the proposed agreement, he will remain a Southold employee and the district will bill Greenport twice a year. The arrangement is similar to the shared technology director position Greenport and Southold signed last year, he said.

“We’re doing the same type of thing, but in reverse because that’s the Greenport employee,” Mr. Gamberg said.

Greenport is set to vote on the contract at its next meeting June 18.

“Savings is a nice aspect of what were doing,” said Greenport school board president Heather Wolf. “But we feel like there’s just so much value to be added on top of the monetary savings. We are definitely winning twice.”

Mr. Gamberg has said he believes the new shared-superintendent arrangement will help to create efficiencies and save money for both communities during changing economic times.

“In terms of student opportunities and cost savings: Those are twin objectives to see what we can possibly do in this novel situation,” he said. “We’re working on both of those fronts and the reason for that is once we start down the path we have opportunities to have those conversations. That’s what I think is exciting.

“It’s going to require a certain skill set on my part so both districts have a robust and fair level of support from me to make sure the communities are very well taken care of and represented.”

Mr. Gamberg said he also agreed to a “non-compete clause,” which means he’ll return to Southold if the shared-superintendent arrangement isn’t working out. In addition, Mr. Gamberg said he’s agreed to remain as a Southold employee after the two-year contract expires.

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