Sup’t candidate Wenzel answers criticism of her refusing furlough days

One of the three finalists for the position as superintendent of the Fayette County School System is Peachtree City resident and former Assistant Superintendent Lyn Wenzel.

An issue that surfaced after her name was announced related to a recommendation in early 2009 by former Superintendent John DeCotis that school system administrators take several voluntary furlough days to help out with expenses during the recession.

Though Wenzel was one of 13 administrators who did not take the voluntary furlough days, her explanation for the action is simple. She said in an interview that she was retiring early and was told by DeCotis not to take the furlough days since her lack of a full salary and the fact that her position would not be filled would more than cover the cost savings of the furlough days.

It was in January 2009 that the Fayette County Board of Education voted unanimously to furlough a number of school system employees before the end of the fiscal year June 30. The measure was intended to create $303,200 in budget savings that would offset a projected $240,332 deficit for the same period.

“... these (furlough) moves are necessary to balance our budget for this year. It’s not something we want to do, but it’s something we have to do,” DeCotis said at the January 2009 meeting.

Those asked to take voluntary furloughs included principals, assistant principals and central office administrators, coordinators and directors who worked under either a 210-day contract or a 240-day contract. The measure stipulated voluntary furlough days due to the nature of their contracts.

Other school system non-contract employees such as secretaries, custodians, maintenance workers and bus shop staff were to be given two involuntary furlough days, for a savings of $110,000.

The employees with a 210-day contract in January 2009 were asked to voluntarily take four furlough days, equal to 1.9 percent of their annual salary. Those with a 240-day contract would take five furlough days, or 2 percent of their annual pay. The savings between late January and June 30 would total $193,000 if all employees participated.

Superintendent John DeCotis said he was confident that the overwhelming majority of 210-day and 240-day contracted employees would agree to the furloughs.

DeCotis was right. A total of 91 administrators out of 104 throughout the Fayette system took furlough days as part of the voluntary furlough process. Then-Assistant Superintendent Lyn Wenzel was one of 13 who did not take the furlough days.

Those unaffected by the furlough vote at that time included employees such as teachers, parapros, bus drivers, school nutrition staff, counselors and media specialists, though they met with mandatory furlough days later in the calendar year.

Speaking Tuesday, Wenzel said the issue surrounding her not taking the furlough days stemmed from a conversation with DeCotis in which she was told not to take the furlough days since she was retiring in May and, additionally, because her position as assistant superintendent would not be filled. That combination would save the school system significantly more than if she took the furlough days, Wenzel said.

The Mole
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Super Candidates

Go to the school board and read the candidates’ applications. After viewing the applications I do not think anyone could walk away thinking Lyn Wenzel is more qualified to be superintendent than the other two candidates are. In fact, you will find the other two are much more qualified than Wenzel is. The school system needs the best-qualified candidate. As far as “cleaning house” if Wenzel is selected, no one believes that will happen. It will be business as usual.

AtHomeGym
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DeCotis/Wenzel & Furloughs

Of course the logic expressed by DeCotis is correct if one only is concerned with Dollars but it sure blows the "Team Player" concept to shreds. "I made the decision not to take furlough days because ..." would have been a more stand-up comment from Wenzel.

Smart Woman
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Excuses

Lyn Wenzel’s retirement was approved by the board at the May 18, 2009 board meeting. Her date of retirement was June 1, 2009.

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/ViewMeetingOrder.aspx?S=4067...

J
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Lyn Wenzel a top candidate for school superintendent

I have watched in amazement over the past day as Lyn Wenzel has been bombarded by negativity from all sides. It makes me wonder if there is a concerted effort to keep her out of the superintendent’s position for fear she might come in and do the house cleaning that is so necessary at the top.
To those who commented on how awful it was to work under her leadership, I have to question why you would believe this to be true. My experience was just the opposite. As a teacher, I found her to be a fair, just, supportive leader with clear expectations and excellent communication. The only way I can see having issues with her leadership is if you did not live up to these expectations which were, quite simply, to carry out all the duties of your position in a professional manner.
While I understand the concerns over the furlough days, I must question which of us, in the same position of leaving early in the year and in essence giving up far more than the five furlough days requested, would give this time up twice. I don’t believe I would have, especially in light of my supervisor advising otherwise, and if you were honest with yourself, would you?
Let’s not get bogged down in a smear campaign, let’s provide the best leadership for our school system available. A person with demonstrated leadership in our county with the understanding of the goals and vision set forth needs no on-the-job training. John deCotis demonstrated the value of leadership from within. I firmly believe that Lyn Wenzel would do the same.

Suzie
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Wenzel Received Full Salary

http://www.open.georgia.gov/

A simple search shows she gave up nothing. She got her full salary. I don't believe her when she blames DeCotis for her decision. He asked all employees to sacrifice. I don't believe he said that and then said, "But not you Lyn!" He is a scapegoat. She showed poor judgment and character and now wants to be superintendent, despite being unwilling to make personal sacrifices for the system. 88% of other administrators took the furlough when given the choice.

lifeisgood
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Positive perspective???

MCLC, I notice that you too do not sign your name or give any identification. Is it possibly because you don't want people to identify you as you send in comments to the paper or blogs?

If you are a parent, chances are you are looking from the opposite side of the stained glass window. Maybe you should look at it from a REAL perspective. What about the educators who have had to deal with this woman? Those are the educators who have been ridiculed, put down, misdirected, and lied to by this past administrator. These educators are also the ones who teach your child/children.
Think about what a negative impact having her as a superintendent would be, rather than a positive impact. People who have been in this county for any period of time will tell you that those in power are manipulative and revengeful. Wenzel has connections and has not been afraid to use them in the past. If she can get her son out of trouble, prevent him from attending a tribunal, lock-up and a criminal record simply by pitching a fit and throwing around her title, while he brings a knife to school and pulls it on another student....what will she do for the rest of those "innocent" students in our school system. I hope your child is never on the "opposite" side of the tracks where she is involved.

mclc
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clarification

It appears there was a misunderstanding regarding my comment. I did not mean focus on the positives of Wenzel becoming superintendent. Rather, all the positves each candidate has to offer. If Wenzel does not have the peoples vote, why not show reasons and support for the other candidates to be selected?
While I hate to even comment on a candidates personal life, I do believe a tribunal is a right and not a punishment. A tribunal is an opportunity for the defendant to present their case, which like any trial, can be waived.
Again, I am sorry for the miscommunication on which candidate I was supporting. I did not want to offend or cause an argument. It would just be nice to see more positive stories on this site.

Courthouserules
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life

WOW! Maybe she is just a momma grizzly from Wasilla? What tribunal was he to attend? Was he arrested? What does "pitching a fit" look like?
Ridiculed, put-down, misdirected and lied to by the Deputy Super? Wouldn't that be FeCotis' responsibility? Was she his bad cop?
There couldn't have been this much bad blood could there?
However if she is who day want, she is who dey will git!
School is going to be tough to run for awhile.

The Mole
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"Lack of full salary"?

Wenzel was paid $142,369.13 + $2822.59 for travel expenses.

http://www.open.georgia.gov/

mclc
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A positive perspective.

As a parent of children in the school system, I am disappointed with Fayette County. The search for superintendent yielded three names. Instead of looking at all of the different positive outcomes, we choose to discuss furlough days from over a year ago and land owned over a decade ago. I understand your concerns and desire for the system to improve. However, I challenge you, Fayette County, to take a step back and look at everything that has been said from an outside point of view. Who would even want to come in from a different county and have their lives on display and be mocked by every resident hiding behind a computer and a user name? While you may not agree with Wenzel as superintendent, she did provide years of service to our schools. She may not hold a doctorate. But, if all of these comments are true I find it hard to believe nothing has been brought to light sooner. Again as an outsider, what does it say about our community that we are constantly slamming BOE members and other county officials in the paper? The other candidates stated they both did research on the area and how it would be a great place for their families to move. Yes, what a great place where we publish anything we think of without regard to its ramifications in the paper. So come on, out of state candidates, move you and your family into our county. Our "reporters" are getting bored.

So, I challenge you residents, to stand up for our community. Support the well-being of all the candidate and congratulations to which ever one wins.

Suzie
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Perspective on Furlough

I hardly think that publishing information that is on the public record is inappropriate. These are facts, not rumor mongering. Anyone who has been paying attention to the financial state our schools have been in for the last two years will understand why furlough days from over a year ago are important. Dr. DeCotis asked all employees to sacrifice in 2009 because our system was facing financial ruin. All employees. And the Assistant Superintendent chose not to. She made no sacrifices, while employees who make considerably less than she did had no say in the matter. I don't believe for one minute that John DeCotis was saying to all Fayette County school employees that they needed to sacrifice, but was telling Wenzel that she didn't need to sacrifice at the same time. I do not believe it. DeCotis has retired, and he has become a convenient scapegoat. She now wants to become superintendent of the system she was unwilling to sacrifice for only a year and a half ago. I think it says a lot about her character and her qualifications.

lifeisgood
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the truth is revealed

Thanks you Ben Nelms! I am so glad someone is reporting, digging, and putting information out for all to read. Lyn Wenzel is a weasel.

She has decided to come back with a "burning passion" for our county? What a load of crap. She is coming back to our county to line her pockets with money from us as taxpayers. Plus work with her old buddies Smith, Smola, and high level administrators. She chose NOT to take her furlough days, but yet teachers, secretaries, bus drivers, etc... were NOT given an option. Who would choose to take furlough days? Just because these staff members HAD to take the furlough days, doesn't mean they didn't do the work. They just had to put in extra long hours to make up for the day's work load and work hours they lost. Lyn Wenzel instead chooses to blame Dr. DeCotis for her "reasons" for NOT taking furlough days. Dr. DeCotis and others knew retirement was just around the corner. Does this mean he didn't take the furlough days? No, of course not. He took his days. I wounder if research was done, would we see that the total of 13 include Lyn Wenzel and her croanie buddies? Just a thought.

allegedteacher
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Wenzel not furloughed

I have no personal issue with Wenzel, having never met her; however, it seems kind of "weasely" to push the blame for this lapse in judgment onto her now-retiring ex-boss. It is akin to her not knowing anything about having owned any property other than that she owns in Peachtree City. I think it's called back-pedalling, covering one's rear, etc. Now that Todd is back in, maybe Wenzel will be held equally accountable with the other two candidates.

PTC Observer
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Wenzel

She's local so she has a local history, the others are unknowns.

So far I haven't seen anything that would disqualify her for the position.

Does The Citizen have information on the other candidates that would be of interest, any not so "secret" real estate deals, other things that we should know about? Any connection with the current BOE that we should know about?

If we are going to investigate let's investigate all of them.

Just Saying
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I would be more impressed with Wenzel if...

...she retired and it took 2 or more people to do her job. Instead, she retired from her $100,000 job at FCBOE, was not replaced, and no one has noticed a difference.

Suzie
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Please

She didn't retire to help the system, she likely made money on the deal. She sacrificed nothing. They were voluntary because she had a contract that said she couldn't be furloughed. DeCotis and the BOE made a big production about sacrifice, and when it was her turn, she didn't. And now she wants to be superintendent?

Suzie
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Wenzel Shows Lack of Character

Her buddy Terri Smith said anyone who would refuse to take a cut was a "jerk." I wonder if that applies to Ms. Wenzel. Retirement isn't an excuse not to take the furlough days. It wasn't an either/or situation. Pathetic. Employees who couldn't afford to be furloughed had to suck it up, but apparently Wenzel is above that.

NUK_1
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Wenzel explanation makes sense to me

Besides, these were VOLUNTARY furloughs in any event. Decotis could verify/disavow the alleged conversation and put an end to it, but it's not like he's under any obligation to clarify anything or get involved in rank politics since he's also retired.

Wenzel wasn't forced to retire. She could have taken some "voluntary" furlough days and then worked another few months and cost the system much more money in future retirement benefit payouts than what would have been saved by her taking a couple of days off.

fc1989
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Not sense, burned bridge

Easy now to throw off on Dr. DeCotis. You miss the point that she did not make the sacrifice, jumped ship, and now wants to be welcomed back with open arms. Have you not read the post of the school system employees? The story on the 3 finalist says she has a burning desire to be the super of Fayette and how tied she is to the community....then why did she leave in the first place?

NUK_1
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Not a Wenzel supporter here

It does seem like there is a coordinated effort to make sure she is tarred and scarred right now. No matter anything else, she was at Booth and Booth is an excellent school. A lot of that is heavy parental involvement and a culture of success that feeds itself, but she didn't screw that up either and continued it. She is likely not the best candidate, but I don't think she's horrible and incompetent either.

abacus2
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Wenzel

NUK_1 - There are reasons why Fayette County teachers do not want Lyn Wenzel for superintendent the main one being that she always puts her best interests first. Be grateful that you have never worked with/for her. It is not a pleasant experience from what I know.

J
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Wenzel

I would ask, did you actually work with her or are you listening to hearsay. I did work for her and it was a wonderful experience.

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