Three members of a Maryland school board published a letter Thursday alleging that the head of the district is out of line for increasing an employee’s salary by eight times the normal rate.
A minority bloc from the Prince George’s County, Md., school district claimed that chief executive Kevin Maxwell superseded his authority by raising two of his employees’ salaries by 16 and 9.4 percent, each, reported The Washington Post. The board members say the pay hikes are much higher than the typical two percent awarded to individuals occupying similar positions.
“This is a reckless disregard for taxpayer dollars in Prince George’s County,” school board member Raaheela Ahmed and two others wrote. “It is decimating the morale of hard-working employees in the school district.”
The scandal is the third such occurrence in the county and is transpiring while Maxwell’s boss, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, is running for the Democratic nomination for Maryland governor. (RELATED: All Maryland Casino Money Could Go To Education, If New Measure Enacted)
But Prince George’s County school district spokesman John White defended Maxwell’s actions, asserting that pay raises are approved by the district’s CEO and chief of human resources, whereas the minority bloc had insisted that the school board generally approved them.
“Certain board members have gone outside of the process and not allowed the process to complete and that sometimes creates confusion,” White told WaPo.
The board members, however, cite a 2013 Maryland law designating the CEO’s control over certain employees’ salaries, but not others.
“It appears he is going above and beyond what is legally his right,” Ahmed said. “To me it’s very clear that when you’re talking about the office of the CEO, that’s a specific subgroup of people and not people in other offices.”
Maxwell received criticism earlier in April for hiking the salary for his chief of strategic and external affairs by almost $50,000 in less than two years and upping his director of employee performance and evaluation’s paycheck by $35,758 during the same time period. The CEO justified the raises with reasons pertaining to “greater job responsibilities, improved pay parity and/or increased cost of living” and saying the salaries mirrored those given by other school systems.
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