Plenty of people are wondering when Amber Dixon will start cutting exempt administrators -- and how many she will cut.
Let me tell you what I know.
You might recall that her predecessor, James Williams, more than doubled the size of the non-union central office staff during his six years in Buffalo -- from 13 to 28 exempt positions.
Dixon says she is in the process of trimming that number.
Let's take a look at the numbers.
In the past few months, two exempt employees in human resources -- Faren Gault Wilson and Kara Murphy -- left the district. They will not be replaced, Dixon told me. "We used those funds to increase clerical staff in the office," she said.
So now we're down to 26 exempt positions.
And we can subtract one more, because Dixon's former position -- executive director for evaluation, accountability and project initiatives -- will be left vacant while she's interim superintendent. Per her contract, she gets to return to that job once she's done serving as interim.
Down to 25 exempts.
Earlier in the year, Alexander Collichio left the legal department, and Brendan Kelleher's last day as general counsel will be in mid-November. At one point, Dixon said she would look at whether the district needs a legal department at all -- or whether it can rely on the city's corporation counsel.
Well, she has decided to keep the legal department.
"There needs to be legal advice for the board of education and the district, in-house," she said. "Corporation counsel has their hands full with a lot of other things. I think we need a legal office. That's a decision I've come to."
So we're at 25 and holding, so far.
Former Deputy Superintendent Folasade Oladele will be replaced by a chief academic officer. Currently, five candidates are being interviewed in a first round. Dixon says she hopes to name someone to that position in about a week.
Once that happens, she will move on to interviewing candidates for the vacant position for executive director of human resources.
Still at 25.
Dixon says she is taking steps behind the scenes to continue trimming the exempt staff.
"I'm trying to treat people respectfully -- I'm trying to look organizationally and see if there are other postings in other positions people may want to apply for," she said. "I made movement this week in several cases. Exactly what it means, I can't say yet. What I told you is that by January, we will look different. And I stand by that."
- Mary Pasciak