It certainly appears to be a noble gesture that Dr. Charles D. Machesky, superintendent of the Uniontown Area School District, has volunteered to work for free for one year after his impending March 30 retirement.
"I've been lucky enough to have had this position for the past 10 years, and I wanted to give something back to the school district for everything that has been given me over the years," Machesky told the Connellsville Courier ("Retiring Uniontown Area superintendent offers to work for free, Nov. 16.)
In that same story, Machesky is quoted as saying he won't take any salary or benefits, and that his may consider working for three years for free if his health holds up. He pledged to take "nothing, zero" -- provided that the Pennsylvania State Retirement Board agrees to let him work free of charge.
We've got no beef with Machesky, who has been superintendent during a pretty rough time, including a costly and contentious building renovation phase that is still dragging on.
But in all honesty, Machesky can probably offer to work for free simply because he'll be able to afford to. As superintendent, he's likely been making in the $100,000-a-year salary range -- and we're betting that his pension (funded by the taxpayers) would be pretty close to that.
We wish a reporter would call the Pennsylvania State Retirement Board, or make an information request of the Uniontown Area School District, to inform the reading public what Machesky's pension amount is going to be.
Machesky is also willing to work without benefits. Could that be because his retirement package includes free health insurance until he reaches age 65 (again, funded by the taxpayers)? If so, what is that going to cost the district? (There is also the matter of whether Machesky will be getting paid for unused sick days, and how much that amount will total.)
We're not questioning Machesky's motives here, which appear on face value to be quite magnanimous. Most people in his position head out the door as quickly as possible, never to be seen or heard from again.
But what we are pointing out is that Machesky, like most school district administrators in Fayette County, probably qualifies for a retirement deal that is way sweeter than the average person. We're guessing that he's probably in his late 50s, age wise. If he qualifies for, and receives, health insurance coverage for seven or eight years, that's a considerable cost -- and a benefit that most folks who are footing the bill for his early retirement will never, ever get.
If you're in Machesky's position, we're betting that it's relatively easy to say that you'll work for "nothing, zero," because there's no steep income and benefits dropoff between working and retiring,