School unions denounce raises for top officials Workers denied pay increases for 2 years are resentful

July 26, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Union leaders say the salary increases for two top school administrators have angered employees and could undermine the two men's leadership.

None of them questioned the performance of Superintendent R. Edward Shilling and Deputy Superintendent Brian Lockard. But the leaders said they've been flooded with calls from members who are angry that the Board of Education approved the increases in a year when hundreds of school employees received no raises.

"There's a very high level of resentment, and that's at a time when I would like to see us all work together," said Harold Fox, a staff member for the teachers union.

The board approved the raises at its meeting July 15.

Cynthia Cummings, president of the Carroll County Education Association, has written to Board President Cheryl A. McFalls.

Mrs. Cummings said the teachers union is disappointed that while the board refused to commit itself to a two-year contract for teachers, it did agree to a four-year contract for Mr. Shilling with annual raises of $6,000 to $7,000. His salary is now $104,626; it will be $118,126 by July 1994.

She also questioned the board's approval of a $3,000 increase for Mr. Lockard because of extra duties he has taken on, when hundreds of teachers also have taken on extra duties with no pay increase, she said. Mr. Lockard now makes $84,343.

The union that represents custodians, bus drivers and other workers has asked to meet with Mr. Shilling.

"[We] are attempting to set up an emergency meeting with Mr. Shilling himself regarding the effect of this matter on the work force," said Thomas Kelleher, staff representative for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union represents about 225 workers whose salaries range from $16,000 to $30,000.

"Some of the lower-paid classifications have voiced extreme displeasure over the increases given out when they themselves have not been able to see an increase in their pay," Mr. Kelleher said.

Sharon Fischer, president of the Carroll Association School Employees union for secretaries, nurses and assistants, said she has received several calls from angry members, many of whom received no increase this year.

The board negotiated employee contracts this spring that included step and longevity raises that existed in the previous contract, but no cost-of-living increase.

Several hundred employees who were at the top of their scales received no raises for two years in a row.

What bothered him most, Mr. Fox said, was the multiyear contract. "At the bargaining table each year for the last two years, the board has said it could not enter into multiyear agreements, particularly with economic terms, because of the uncertainty of the economy."

Although the contract with Mr. Shilling was negotiated last year, apparently no one other than board members knew of the annual raises built into it.

And at least two county commissioners said they were disappointed to learn that the Board of Education agreed to built-in raises in the multiyear contract. They said they will remember it when budget time comes around next spring.

Although the commissioners have only a bottom-line control on the school budget, Elmer C. Lippy and Julia W. Gouge said they would seek legislation allowing them to have line-item veto power.

Commissioner President Donald I. Dell said he wouldn't oppose it, but was less likely to have the county interfere with the Board of Education's decisions.

"They're elected to run the schools the same way we're elected to run the county," he said.

School board members said they were bound by the four-year contract they signed with Mr. Shilling. The annual raises are contingent on the teachers receiving step increases and Mr. Shilling getting an evaluation that is at least satisfactory, said Mrs. McFalls.

She said his evaluation this year was "outstanding."

"I don't think Mr. Shilling's increase is unfair," she said.

Although board members said they knew the raise would be controversial, she said, "I believe the board's justification was, and still is, we want to make sure Mr. Shilling remains superintendent here in Carroll County."

The vote on Mr. Shilling's raise was unanimous, but member Joseph D. Mish Jr. voted against giving Mr. Lockard a raise.

"It certainly has nothing to do with Dr. Lockard," he said. In a year when all employees have received a smaller raise or no raise, he said he did not feel comfortable with an increase for Mr. Lockard.

When the board approved Mr. Lockard's promotion last month, Mr. Shilling told members it did not come with a pay raise.

"Rethinking it, I felt I wanted to go back to he board and say, 'That is a promotion,' " Mr. Shilling said.

In his new position, Mr. Lockard is automatically in charge if Mr. Shilling is out of the county, in addition to the duties he had as assistant superintendent.

Before last month, Mr. Shilling said he would rotate among a few top administrators the duty of substituting for him.

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