Arundel hires school superintendent

June 22, 2006|By ANICA BUTLER | ANICA BUTLER,SUN REPORTER

Kevin M. Maxwell will be paid $225,000 a year when he takes over as superintendent of the Anne Arundel County school system July 1, the school board agreed yesterday.

Based on salary alone, Maxwell would be the fifth-highest-paid superintendent in Maryland, compared with 2005-2006 salaries compiled by the state Department of Education.

When the board voted yesterday to officially hire Maxwell, student board member Pallas A. Snider abstained and Paul G. Rudolph voted against appointing Maxwell, who most recently worked as a community superintendent in Montgomery County.

It was the last board meeting for Snider and Rudolph, whose terms end June 30.

Rudolph's objection centered on the recent announcement that three senior staff members will be replaced upon Maxwell's arrival. According to school system officials, the three employees were told that Maxwell would bring in his people to fill their positions and that they could be fired or reassigned. The three, Robert C. Leib, Dennis Hirsch and Sherry Yaniga, have retained an attorney.

"This controversy exceeds what [former Superintendent Eric J. Smith] managed to accomplish in three years," Rudolph said, adding that the announcement to the employees - which was made before Maxwell was hired - constituted questionable ethics or a lack of common sense.

The only board member who responded to Rudolph's comment was Eugene Peterson, who said that it wasn't an appropriate issue for the board to consider. However, he also said of the situation: "Employment is a privilege; it isn't a right."

Board President Konrad Wayson signed the four-year contract on behalf of the board. The total compensation package for Maxwell is worth about $275,000, according to the school system, and includes an annual performance bonus of about 10 percent of his base salary and an annual $15,000 payment to a retirement fund for each year he is with the school system.

Smith was paid a lower base salary when he was brought here from Charlotte, N.C., in 2002 - $197,000 - but his total compensation package was nearly $300,000, making him among the highest paid superintendents in the state. At the time, the amount of the package was criticized as excessive. Smith resigned in November, before the end of his four-year contract, amid strained relations with the board.

Included in Maxwell's contract are a $750 monthly car allowance, a cellular phone and a home computer with Internet access paid for by the board. Maxwell also brings with him 261 days of sick leave that he accrued while working in Montgomery County, which he will be allowed to use before taking any sick time earned while in Anne Arundel.

Any sick days earned while in Anne Arundel that go unused can be cashed out at Maxwell's retirement or resignation.anica.butler@baltsun.com

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