Special Master’s Role Unclear Despite Huge Paycheck

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(Memphis) A special school master is being paid what some consider to be big bucks to help the unified school board finish planning schools by this summer.

With a lot of work still left to do, some are arguing the special master isn’t speeding anything up.

A federal judge appointed Rick Masson to oversee the merger because he thinks his orders aren’t being followed.

Masson makes $250 an hour to oversee the school merger.

At Thursday’s night`s two hour meeting, he made at least $500.

Many school board meetings can run for several hours.

The only problem is most believe decisions still aren't being made while the deadline is drawing closer.

News Channel 3’s Adam Hammond asked board member Mike Wissman if the board would be finished with school decisions just nine weeks left before the merger, “We have to be. I know they`re trying to put the budget together."

The unified board faces some pretty major decisions in order to cut the budget down to something the county commission can finance.

After two hours of debate Thursday, they never made a decision about the privatization of custodial services, something they have to finish dealing with.

The special master watched that debate and when the meeting was done, he quickly left.

I tried to call Masson several times to ask about the decision making process and his role as special master, but he didn't answer or return my calls.

Wissman, who is also mayor of Arlington, says Masson has mostly observed to this point, “I'm trying to figure out exactly what authority or role he actually has in the whole situation because during the meetings he does not talk to us board members but I know he`s reporting to the judge."

I spoke with school board member Jeffery Warren who says he expects Masson will step in at some point to force a decision.