School district ends ‘employee of the month’ program

Published Nov 30, 2017 at 12:11pm

The Rome school district’s “employee of the month” recognition program, which spotlighted an instructional staffer and a non-instructional staffer each month at a Board of Education meeting, is no longer in effect.

The program, which started about seven years ago, has not named any honorees since about midway through the prior 2016-17 school year.

The district administration opted to halt the program, said Board of Education clerk Timothy Safin, who chairs the board’s personnel committee, adding “it was hard to pick” specific employees for recognition “when all are special in their own way.” He said he had asked about the program’s discontinuation, and there were indications that rather than single out two persons each month, everybody was important to the district.

District Superintendent Peter C. Blake said Wednesday that persons in the district who were responsible for the program “had not been receiving nominations for roughly a year prior and they were having to invest in a lot of time to get other colleagues to recommend people.” He commented, “due to no one being nominated for several months in a row, we stopped begging for nominations.”

Blake became superintendent in July 2016. The recognition program began under the prior superintendent, Jeffrey P. Simons.

Safin agreed with the decision not to continue the program. He said that while there are “always people who go above and beyond the call of duty” in their work for the district, “I personally feel everybody’s essential to the district...no matter what their position” to make the district run smoothly. He added, “no job is more important or less important.”

Board President Paul Fitzpatrick said the board was not involved in selecting the featured employees each month, but recognized them at meetings based on selections that were forwarded from the district administration. Employees typically were nominated for the honor by other staffers, and the nominators often spoke at meetings to salute honorees’ traits such as exceptional dedication and achievements. The selected employees were presented with plaques.

Safin said he is not aware of any reactions from district staff to the program’s halt, including neither a “yea or nay” and “no grumbling” about it. Blake said “no one has commented on it since” it was halted.

The district has about 1,000 full- and part-time employees, including about 525 teachers plus administrative positions and various categories of support jobs.