The second part of that commitment is that his contract which now runs through June 30 of 2012 takes a pay cut in–and not a mere superficial paycut, but a real one.
Second, he has taken a five percent pay reduction for 2009-10 and beyond.
Now let us be clear first that Dr. Hammond will not exactly leave him in the poor house. The $21,000 in savings is not exactly going to save the district fiscal situation. And he is still receiving an annual salary of nearly $200,000.
But at the same time, this is an important demonstration of leadership. Dr. Hammond has stepped to the plate and has taken a pay cut that frankly he did not have to take.
We can contrast Dr. Hammond’s actions against others in our community that to this point have not shared in any sort of sacrifice. We can contrast these responsible actions against those who have taken decidely irresponsible actions. But in a way that would demean Dr. Hammond’s responsibility.
I will admit from day one, I was pleased with the hire of Dr. Hammond way back in the early fall of 2007 when he was hired. But as with so many in this community, I was guardedly hopeful that a new Superintendent would bring an end to the multitude of problems that we faced as the result of the irresponsible leadership of his predecessor.
The day I realize for certain that it was a new day in Davis, it was not just about talk and rhetoric was in the spring of 2008. It was a trying time as the district was actually facing a more serious budget situation then than they are today. We were facing massive layoffs and cut backs of programs and the closure of Emerson.
Students and parents marched from Central Park to the front of District Administration Building on B Street. Then an amazing thing happened. Instead of the Superintendent hiding in his office–as there was no doubt that the previous Superintendent would have done–Dr. Hammond grabbed a bullhorn and addressed the crowd.
Did he tell the crowd what they wanted to hear? No. He could not tell them what they wanted to hear, because that would not have been the truth. I would like to believe that each and every person in that crowd gained a measure of respect for the honor and integrity shown by Dr. Hammond that day. I became a fan. He would probably just shrug it off as part of the job. I know better. I have seen a whole lot in my time covering events for the Vanguard, but I have never seen a great performance like that.
This comes close. We are faced with trying economic times which probably have become a whole lot worse as the result of the inaction by our state government last night.
However, for those skeptical about government–which in this day and age, you would be crazy not to be–perhaps this small gesture and show of leadership can inspire a little faith, the likes of which I first saw in that spring day of April 2008 when it showed that this was not just more of the same, this was something new. I wish we would actually get to see Dr. Hammond at work doing something other than trying to save us from the economic crisis. Hopefully he will be around long enough so that we can build things, not take things down.
However in the meantime, every parent in this district should sleep better at night knowing that the able hands of Dr. Hammond will guide this ship another three years through what unfortunately figures to be more stormy waters.
—David M. Greenwald reporting