ED WATCH - School Building Authority Grants Themselves Second Pay Raise

(01/20/2006)

By Dianne Weaver OPINION AND COMMENT

A Charleston Daily Mail story says the "School Building Authority just gave one too many," referring to a pay raise they recently granted themselves.

Gov. Joe Manchin was not happy that the SBA granted pay raises to all their agency employees, except the executive director, whose salary is set by the governor.

It was the second pay hike for these fortunate individuals in a matter of weeks, authority employees pocketing a $900 increase granted by legislators to all state workers.

The report said "It is unlikely that work done at the authority is of greater value to West Virginians than work done at any other agency." But when others have been asked to "make-do", authority members have hiked their incomes.

The SBA and the WV Board of Education is used to getting their way hammering West Virginia communities to submit to their will over school consolation, so why not here.

The newspaper said "Authority members cannot grasp the unfairness of their actions, or just don't care."

"The governor has the ability to set the salary of the executive director, but itís our responsibility to set the salaries of the staff," said SBA member Barbara Fish.

The SBA voted 6 to 5 to give $26,000 in pay raises to nine office workers, even though Gov. Joe Manchin had asked them to refrain.

Staff members also received a separate $900 pay raise, along with other state employees.

SBA members who supported the raises said the office workers were hard-working and deserved the pay hikes.

SBA members who opposed the increases said it was unfair for workers to get two pay raises in two months.

"My governor doesn't want this," said Robert Holroyd, who opposed the increases. "It's his administration. He's got the overall picture."

School Building Authority Chairman Carte Goodwin said, "It's a matter of consistency. The rank and file (state employees) don't have the ability to get these raises."

David Sneed, the authority's architectural services chief, received a $10,000 raise, now receiving $104,446 a year.

The agency's chief financial officer, Garry Stewart, got a $3,874 raise to $83,900.

The lowest paid employee at SBA now makes $39,900 a year. Executive Director Clacy Williams makes $104,758 a year.

State Board of Education members have three seats on the SBA.

State school board President Lowell Johnson, who sits on the SBA, was the only state school board member who opposed the raises.

Goodwin, Holroyd, Nick Preservati and Tom Lange also voted against the raises.

Those voting for the pay raises were Fish, state school board member Sheila Hamilton, and board members Connie Perry, Louis Spatafore, Steve Burton and state schools Superintendent Steve Paine.


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