Nampa’s new board clerk collects four times more than her predecessor

Nampa’s new board clerk has collected payments in recent months that more than quadruple what her predecessor was making, financial documents obtained by Idaho Education News show. And the payouts could end up being even more if trustees approve a newly proposed contract for their new clerk.

From April to August, Nampa board clerk Krissy LaMont billed the district for $14,465.63 worth of work, according to invoices EdNews received  from the district via a public records request. LaMont’s pay dwarfs the $3,272 former board clerk Tammy Wallen’s rate of pay would have secured over the same time period.

Since being hired in January, LaMont has collected $20,681.26. Her predecessor’s annual stipend was $7,854.

Trustees hired LaMont to replace Wallen in January, and agreed to pay the incoming clerk an hourly wage that reflected Wallen’s annual stipend of $7,854. Trustees set LaMont’s hourly rate at $18.75, with the intent to negotiate a contract at a later date. But LaMont’s hours billed for the job have sent her paychecks soaring.

On average, LaMont recorded working 154.3 hours a month — or basically full-time at 38.5 hours a week — from April to August, her monthly invoices show. Wallen typically reported working 32 to 40 hours a month, district spokeswoman Kathleen Tuck told EdNews.

And LaMont has been in negotiations with the board to up her hourly pay, with a possible increase being applied retroactively since her hiring date. LaMont scaled back a previous contract request for $50 an hour to $34.36 an hour — but she wants an additional $12,500 a year in lieu of healthcare benefits, which is not a reward for contracted employees, a newly proposed contract shows.

The newly proposed contract, also obtained by EdNews through a public records request, is the latest in ongoing negotiations between the board and LaMont. It’s the second time a proposal for contracting with LaMont has surfaced since her January hiring.

In February, LaMont, whom the board hired as an independent contractor, asked trustees to pay her $50 an hour for 120 hours per month and $100 an hour for anything over 120 hours works. Trustees did not vote on LaMont’s proposed contract and instead agreed unanimously to have board chair Jeff Kirkman negotiate the terms of a new contract. Kirkman said at the time that LaMont’s proposed pay rate of $50 an hour seemed “a little bit high.”

It’s unclear when the proposed contract, which also includes an updated section of duties and responsibilities for the position, could be taken up for formal consideration by the board. Trustees held a regular board meeting Monday, but the item was not on the agenda.

LaMont, who includes with her invoices to the district a daily breakdown of her activities as clerk, did not respond Tuesday to questions about her latest contract proposal and her hourly billings.

Here’s a closer look at the latest contract proposal, and what’s shaped up to be a controversial hire in Idaho’s third largest school district.

LaMont scaled back request for $50 an hour, but now wants pay for perks

On top of a new base hourly request of $28.63 an hour, LaMont is asking for an additional 20% per hour in pay in lieu of no Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho benefits, which would bring her proposed hourly rate to $34.36.

On top of that, LaMont wants a stipend in lieu of no health insurance at the current district employee rate. Nampa shells out $12,500 per employee for healthcare, Tuck told EdNews last week.

Some board clerks in Idaho are district employees and not a contractor like LaMont.  District employees are eligible for and often receive state retirement and health insurance benefits from their districts. Wallen received these benefits during her time as clerk but, according to Tuck, they were tied to her full-time employment as an assistant to the superintendent. (Wallen is still a full-time Nampa employee, working as the deputy superintendent’s assistant.)

Tuck told EdNews Tuesday she was unaware of any other employee contracted with the district on an independent basis receiving PERSI or health insurance benefits.

While LaMont’s contracted status limits her benefits with the district, it allows her to contract with other districts for similar services. LaMont agreed, for example, to work simultaneously as a board clerk for the North Gem district from January to June for $4,500.

The average hourly pay for Idaho school board clerks, who typically work around 20 hours a week, is $25.61, according to a report by the State Department of Education. Clerks in larger districts are often paid more and receive benefits as full-time employees. In Idaho’s largest district, West Ada, the clerk makes $36.19 an hour. In Boise, Idaho’s second largest district, the clerk makes $32.63 an hour.

Click here for a breakdown of the time LaMont spent clerking for the board in August.

New proposal includes revamped responsibilities

LaMont’s latest proposed contract also includes a new scope of work.

Her original proposal included nearly two pages of “services,” including working as:

  • The board chair’s “primary assistant.”
  • A liaison between the board and superintendent.
  • A custodian of records.
  • A liaison between the board and its attorney.

Various responsibilities for each of these roles were included in the original contract proposal.

The latest proposal outlines three primary responsibilities and associated work, on top of what’s in the “current Clerk of the Board job description”:

  • Managing the board’s digital communications.
  • Working to improve the efficacy of the school board office, from onboarding new board members to facilitating board training.
  • Developing and facilitating strategic communications efforts.

LaMont’s hiring and pay requests have fueled controversy

A flurry of issues — aside from her pay — have followed LaMont’s hiring.

The board hired her on a 4-1 vote in January, just minutes after three new trustees were sworn in. The job was not posted for others to apply, sparking concern from the board’s most senior trustee at the time, Mandy Simpson, who opposed LaMont’s nomination.

LaMont’s criminal record came to light during the hiring process. In 2021, she faced charges for driving under the influence and petty theft, both misdemeanors, online court filings show. LaMont pleaded guilty last October to the DUI. She was arrested and charged on Oct. 6 for misdemeanor failure to appear in connection to the petty theft charge, according to court records.

LaMont’s petit theft charge was reduced to “theft to commit by alteration,” court records show. LaMont pleaded guilty to the charge and received a withheld judgement that will be removed from her record in six to 12 months. A judge ordered her to serve 32 hours of community service in lieu of jail time.

In February, LaMont’s ex-boss at the Idaho School Boards Association, Karen Echeverria, warned Nampa trustees not to contract with her. A letter Echeverria wrote to trustees accuses LaMont of deception with a letter of recommendation submitted to the district.

LaMont worked for the Idaho School Boards Association for nearly eight years as a board trainer and director of leadership development and member services. She parted ways with ISBA a year ago.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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