Dr. Herb Levine is back…or is it really that he never left?
Yes, he did go on vacation last month, but Mayor Ted Bettencourt and School Superintendent Joe Mastrocola announced Tuesday that as of Sept. 1, Levine would be on the payroll as a consultant, continuing to lend his wealth of experience and expertise in a variety of roles to Peabody.
“I am very grateful that Dr. Levine has agreed to continue serving his hometown after such a distinguished career in education,” Bettencourt said in a statement. “Particularly during this period of major transition within the School Department and at the human resources level, Dr. Levine’s assistance will be of great benefit to me as Mayor.”
Levine, who has lived in Peabody for more than 30 years and spent more than 40 years in public education, .
as Mastrocola returned to Peabody, and during that time, set in motion a number of key initiatives for the district along with and . His tenure did not come without some bumps along the way, such as the and then a plan to .
Levine said earlier this summer he would stay around to help with the transition phase of new key administrators and other projects, but no mention was made at that time of a position as a paid consultant.
“I am thrilled that Dr. Levine will be available to assist us going forward,” said Mastrocola. “Herb’s credentials speak for themselves and he has a wealth of knowledge based on decades of experience in the trenches.”
Mastrocola said Levine will likely be helping with the implementation of the state’s new teacher evaluation system and help oversee several ongoing school construction projects.
Earlier this month, the city’s Human Resources Director Heidi Henson stepped down from her post, leaving a void in the city’s operations until a permanent replacement is hired. Bettencourt said Levine and other city officials would be sharing those HR duties for the time being, especially as they pertain to union negotiations that are now underway.
Bettencourt is looking to follow through on years of talks by elected officials and for the sake of efficiency and cost savings.
Bettencourt said Levine, in addition to HR, would be handling specific projects and tasks for a monthly stipend of $5,000, substantially less than what Levine was paid as Superintendent. Bettencourt said this consultant’s position will just be on a month-to-month basis as needed.
Bettencourt, still not even a year into his inaugural term as mayor, stressed that with major changes underway for the city and schools, Levine’s guidance and input is greatly valued. “It seemed to make sense,” he said, on retaining Levine’s services.
“Dr. Levine has always offered to be of assistance in any way possible,” he said.