June 25, 2016

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Union given incomplete Stepp contract

Read Superintendent Randy Stepp’s unsigned, undated contract given to teachers union
Read Stepp’s revised contract signed in 2009 adding longevity incentive (Item 23)
Read Stepp’s revised contract signed in 2011 adding payment of past college loans and altering longevity incentive (Items 6 & 23)

David Knox and Loren Genson
In spring 2010, John Leatherman, president of the Medina Teachers Association, filed a public records request for Superintendent Randy Stepp’s 2009 contract.

It was a routine request. The union was getting ready to open contract negotiations and Leatherman wanted to hand out copies of the contract at a March 25, 2010, union meeting at Medina High School.

He assumed the contract he was given was complete and accurate.

It wasn’t.

The unsigned and undated document left out a paragraph contained in the contract approved by the board in February 2009 that called for paying Stepp “ten thousand dollars per year for each year” of the five-year pact.

The missing paragraph meant Leatherman and the teachers didn’t know about the bonus, which was designed “to encourage the superintendent to resist offers of employment, for two more years — until the spring of 2012.”

Again, the union was preparing for negotiations. But this time, Leatherman said he requested copies of Stepp’s W-2 tax forms because of rumors about the Stepp’s bonus.

Stepp’s 2009 form showed he earned nearly $223,000 — indicating he had been paid the full $50,000 in the first year of his contract rather than annual installments.

Leatherman requested Stepp’s contract, which confirmed that the board had agreed to pay the bonus in a lump sum as part of a Nov. 8, 2011, revision of the pact.

Why did the board pay the full amount of the bonus in 2009 — nearly three years before it was authorized by the revised contract?

Board member Susan Vlcek, who was president at the time of the contract revision, did not offer an answer.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m not following the question.”

When pressed, Vlcek only repeated the reason for giving Stepp a bonus.

“We gave Dr. Stepp the incentive to stay here,” she said.

Vlcek stressed that Stepp would have been required to pay back at least a portion of the bonus “if he chose to find employment elsewhere.”

Contact reporter David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

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The Gazette is Medina County's daily local news source, serving the community since 1832. Contact The Gazette's news department at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.