Pottsgrove hires asst. superintendent at $150,000 salary

Robert P. Harney has been hired as assistant superintendent.

LOWER POTTSGROVE >> The Pottsgrove School Board hired a new assistant superintendent Tuesday night.

Robert P. Harney was approved by a 7-1 vote of the school board and he officially starts July 1.

School board member Bill Parker cast the only vote against the hiring but said it had nothing to do with Harney.

With the school district currently facing a budget deficit of about $600,000 in the coming year, Parker made a motion to table Harney’s hiring until the budget is adopted — a budget he said should contain no tax increase.

However, no other member of the board was willing to second his motion and so it died, with the vote on hiring Harney immediately following.

He will be paid $150,000 in his first year on the job.

According to the meeting agenda, Harney was most recently assistant superintendent for personnel at Methacton School District, where he also served as a teacher, building principal, and director of labor relations and human resources.

A former police officer and juvenile probation officer for 11 years, Harney began his career in education as an elementary school teacher in the North Penn School District.

The hiring comes four months after the board made William Shirk’s position as superintendent permanent.

In January, the board awarded Shirk a three-year contract through June 2020 at an annual salary of $178,000.

Shirk had been assistant superintendent under Shellie Feola, who left “by mutual agreement” with the board last August and for five months, Shirk held the “acting superintendent” position and continued doing the work of his assistant post as well.

The hiring vote came one day after neighboring Pottstown School District named Stephen Rodriguez as its superintendent.

Like Shirk, Rodriguez had served under retired superintendent Jeff Sparagana and served as acting superintendent for 10 months.

However, unlike Shirk, although Rodriguez will be paid the same salary of $178,000, Pottstown will not fill the assistant superintendent position.

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