BOE approves Barber's contract
by David Atchison
PELL CITY – The School Board unanimously approved a three-year superintendent contract for Dr. Michael Barber Tuesday night.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Barber and this board for working out the contract agreement,” said Dr. Bobby Hathcock, superintendent of Pell City schools.

Hathcock will officially retire in June, and Barber, who is currently the assistant superintendent, will take over as superintendent, effective July 1.

The contract expires June 30, 2016.

“On or before July 1 of the calendar year immediately preceding the expiration date of the contract, the Board must issue to the Superintendent notification of its intent to allow the contract to expire, and if no such notification is issued, the Superintendent is automatically accorded a one-year extension of contract,” the contract approved by the Board states. “For example, if the Board does not notify Superintendent on or before July 1, 2015, of its action not to extend the contract beyond June 30, 2016, the contract will automatically extend to June 30, 2017, without further action of the Board; and by similar process each year thereafter.”

According to the contract, Barber’s starting salary is set at $129,000 annually.

“On July 1, 2014 and for each subsequent year, the Superintendent’s annual salary shall be increased by an amount equal to two percent (2%) of his annual salary,” the contract agreement states. “The Board and Superintendent may mutually agree to adjust further the salary of the Superintendent during the term of this contract, but in no event shall the Superintendent be paid less than $129,000 per annum plus the two percentage increase stated above.”

The board is required to reimburse Barber for all business expenses related to his job.

“The Board shall obtain and provide Superintendent with an automobile for his use in the discharge of the duties of Superintendent as set forth in this agreement,” the contract states. “The selection of the automobile will be by the Superintendent with prior approval of the Board. The Board will pay all attendant expenses for the operation of the automobile, including insurance, fuel, license, maintenance and repairs.”

The board is also required to pay the expense of a cell phone.

“The Board may discharge the Superintendent for cause but no for political or personal reasons,” the contract agreement states. “Cause, as used herein shall mean incompetency, immorality, misconduct in office, neglect of duty, or a conviction or plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.”

The board may unilaterally terminate the contract, without cause, by paying the Superintendent, as severance pay, the salary he would have received under his contract.

If Barber resigns as superintendent before the expiration of his contract, he will reimburse the board $10,000. He is required to provide a 60-day written notice in advance of the cancellation date.

“The Board may in its discretion waive the provision for Superintendent to reimburse the Board for this sum,” the contract states.

The board voted to hire Barber in March, after Hathcock announced his retirement.

Barber has worked in education for 24 years. He started his teaching career as a fourth-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School and then Stemley Elementary School.

Barber was promoted to assistant principal at Drew Middle School in the Talladega County school system, before becoming principal in 1997 at Iola Roberts Elementary School in Pell City.

Barber was promoted to assistant superintendent of the Pell City school system in 2001 and will hold that position until July when he takes over as the superintendent of schools.

Contact David Atchison at

© 2013