McGonegal to receive $17,300 in unused sick leave, vacation days

MANATEE — Former Manatee school superintendent Tim McGonegal may have lost money in retirement benefits by choosing to resign from his position earlier this month, but he still walks away from the district with $17,300 in unused sick leave and vacation day payouts.

McGonegal accrued almost 400 sick days during his decade-long tenure in the district and will collect about $13,800. He was eligible for 39 paid vacation days, and a payout of about $3,500.

But by resigning from his position earlier this month, McGonegal cut himself out of about $400,000 in state retirement benefits, records show.

According to the state Department of Management Services, McGonegal, 54, entered the Deferred Retirement Option Program in June 2011. McGonegal would have been eligible for a payout of $534,314 and a monthly pension of $8,098 if he had stayed in the program until 2016.

But by leaving early he will only receive a $161,063 payout and a monthly pension of $7,411, the same amount he would have collected if he retired in February, as he had originally announced.

The DROP program allows participants to begin collecting pensions during the last five years of their employment. During this time, benefits accure interest in a trust fund until the five-year period is over.

McGonegel has been contributing to his state pension for 31 years and can start collecting benefits in October.McGonegal’s contract with the school board of Manatee County also entitles him to his $171,000 salary until Sept. 10, when he resigned.

District officials said Thursday that McGonegal has already received $6,470 for salary, automobile allowance and expense accounts through Sept. 10.

His roughly $400 2012-13 sick leave payout was cut by 70 percent because of a clause in McGonegal’s 2008 superintendent contract that requires 90 days notice of a resignation or retirement to get the complete payout for the year. He collected $142 for this year.

McGonegal’s 2008 contract with the district entitled him to 80 percent of unused sick leave at the end of the year. But public records show that in 2011 the former superintendent requested that his percentage of payout be reduced to 50 percent.

McGonegal deferred extra funds for himself on other occasions during his tenure as superintendent. In 2011 he eliminated the step increases in his salary, and later an increase in salary for his doctoral degree.

“His feeling was that if the whole district was suffering financially that he shouldn’t take part in any increase in pay, even if it was in his contract,” Board Chairman Harry Kinnan said earlier this month.

Katy Bergen, Herald education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

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