Guam Education Board Chairman Peter Alecxis Ada placed Fernandez on administrative leave for the singular purpose of continuing the ongoing discussion between the Superintendent and select GEB members.
Guam – Superintendent Jon Fernandez has been placed on a 24 hour administrative leave for the express purpose of continuing ongoing discussions with select Education board members.
GEB Chairman Peter Alecxis Ada says the board asked him for a creative solution to continue the conversation they started last Saturday.
“Upon talking with the members of the select committee, they said we can do all the talking we want, but we need Mr. Fernandez here and if he’s in the department how can we be talking with him? And I said I’ll grant him administrative leave. They said, we think we can be able to solve this quickly, but we need his presence, so I said OK I’ll give him 3 days which is 24 hours,” he explained.
Ada says choosing administrative leave versus extending Fernandez’s annual leave was intentional.
“Nobody suggested annual leave and I did not think of it, because when you’re on annual leave that’s your business what you do on annual leave, but when you’re on admin leave, there is specific instruction,” he said.
Board member Ron McNinch told PNC that the discussions in the next three days will center on Fernandez’s contract and the expense of the attorney fees Fernandez has incurred. The chairman gave us a rough guestimate of the figure he’s anticipating from Fernandez.
“From what I heard, and again, I can’t quantify this, it’s about $60,000. I would rather pay $60,000 than to pay $7 million, I mean common sense: $7 million –we don’t have that money,” he shared.
The board has already made their intentions to reinstate Fernandez known, but Ada says the $7 million lawsuit is now in the hands of both party’s legal counsel.
But what happens if Fernandez doesn’t accept the position once the three days of administrative leave ends?
“We were prepared for that, we were prepared either way. Mr. Fernandez would not put us on this route, right now. And the board –the three that met with him on Saturday, seem to imply that they’re moving in a positive mode,” he said.
If the board were ever faced with that decision, Ada tells us that the next steps would be long and tedious. This includes hiring an interim superintendent after the one year contract of Acting Superintendent Joe Sanchez runs out.
McNinch said the focus should not be placed on the 24 hour deadline, and the Chairman agrees. Both informed PNC that even if the board were to come to a consensus today, they would technically have until GEB’s next general board meeting on March 7th to vote on any decisions that arose from these talks.
The general board meeting will take place at 4pm in C.L. Elementary School’s Cafeteria.