Review ends in pay policy changes

May. 17, 2014 @ 02:20 PM

OXFORD — Granville County’s school board has accepted a third-party audit and recommendations leading to changes in compensation authorization for top-ranking administrators.

Board members announced the changes after meeting for almost two hours in closed session late Friday night in a called meeting. The board is also moving forward with different attorney counsel.

The second called meeting of the month, in addition to the regular meeting, climaxed a three-month sequence of administrator compensation review. It began Feb. 19, included accusations between board members and was punctuated by the defeat of two current board members in this month’s primary.

“It’s been hard on everyone,” said Brenda Dickerson-Daniel, chairwoman of the board. She and Rose Lyon will be leaving the board following their respective election losses.

The report from Jill Wilson and Bryant Starrett of the law firm Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey and Leonard showed Allan Jordan, an associate superintendent, went from compensation of $92,000 in 2007 to $172,000 currently with board minutes confirming one raise of $1,800.

The report states the board did not always take formal action to approve, amend or extend contracts of some administrators, and financial records of the school system showed payments made to administrators when there was no formal board action authorizing the payments.

The school board had voted on elements of the contracts, but school board minutes contain no references to the votes, according to the report.

The board approved recommendations that state, in summary:

• Board members have a right and responsibility to participate fully in the commitment of resources of the board.

• Contracts of senior employees are public records.

• Any change to a material term of an employment contract requires board approval. While matters can be discussed in closed session, final action must be taken in open session in a duly called meeting.

• All actions and votes of the Board of Education must be recorded in minutes.

• The superintendent, board clerk and board members should familiarize themselves with their policies and with the general rules for boardsmanship and meetings published by the North Carolina School of Government.

• Staff should broaden their familiarity with legal requirements for financial management as well as requirements for human resources functions, particularly with regard to contract requirements and which transactions require formal board action.

• The board should consider master board training provided by the North Carolina School Boards Association.

Copies of the report were made available.

Interim board attorney Nicholas Sojka, rather than board attorney Jim Cross, read a statement approved by the board and said he had been asked to field questions from the press and the public. Sojka wouldn’t deny or confirm Cross’ exit.

Sojka and board members declined to answer what concerns triggered the investigation and defended their right to do business in closed session. Dickerson-Daniel, the chairwoman, said a policy adopted March 3 related to contract execution procedures for the superintendent, associate superintendent and the assistant superintendent was affected by the changes coming.

That policy covers the superintendent, associate superintendent and assistant superintendent. Sojka said he wasn’t aware of any other administrators being under review.

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