In the time-honored tradition of journalists leaving the field to become public relations consultants, Bridget LeRoy has jumped ship.
Starting in September, Ms. LeRoy will be the East Hampton School District’s communications adviser. For the past year and a half, she had covered education for The East Hampton Star.
At Tuesday night’s meeting of the East Hampton School Board, her contract was unanimously approved. It is a new position for the district.
“Over the past decade, there’s been this general feeling that the school was doing things behind closed doors,” said Ms. LeRoy, 48, who displayed nervous excitement just before the vote was cast. Her middle child attends East Hampton High School.
“This particular administration and this board are extremely aware of the fact that they’re dealing with $64 million a year in other people’s money,” she said, referring to the district’s annual budget.”
While Ms. LeRoy said her appointment signaled a new era in transparency and accountability for the district, the added job also comes at a time when the district has faced difficult financial decisions following a budget shortfall of nearly $3 million earlier in the year.
As for her salary, which Ms. LeRoy described as a “drop in the bucket,” she will make $25 an hour at a maximum of 32 hours each week — or about $3,200 each month. The position comes with no health insurance and no retirement benefits.
Richard Burns, the district superintendent, sees it as a way of informing the community and parents about events happening within the district.
As is the case with other contract employees, Ms. LeRoy’s position lasts until June 30 of next year. Mr. Burns said the money for her salary came from various sources. “Part of the money is new money, but part of it is not,” he said, citing leftover cash after the elimination of the district’s arts director.
Ms. LeRoy’s responsibilities will include updating the Web site and helping to publish the district’s quarterly pamphlet, The Observer.
“It’s something that should have been in place long ago,” Ms. Hope said. “And now it finally is.”