THREE MILE CURVE, W.Va. — At the July 14 meeting of the Logan County Board of Education (LCBOE) The State Board of Education (WVBOE) publicly responded to several concerns they had received regarding alleged improprieties surrounding employee overtime and the use of consultants in Logan County Schools.
In documents provided to the Logan Banner by the assistant superintendent of the WVBOE Dr. Cindy Daniels, the state lays out the examination was launched over fears the LCBOE had slipped back into personnel practices which, in part, had forced the state to take over Logan County schools in 1992.
The use of consultants in Logan County Schools has been an issue for Logan County teachers as many of them have previously expressed rancorous feelings toward the imposition of consultants in the class room.
In a survey of every teacher in Logan County which was conducted in late 2015, seventy-nine percent of respondents answered the consultants had no impact or have had a negative impact on their classrooms.
When asked if consultants should be hired and used again in the next school year, 81.31 percent of the survey’s respondents answered no.
During the meeting president of the LCBOE Paul Hardesty explained, “It is my understanding that there were four or five people placed on contractual services throughout the board of education throughout the past couple of years. I went down and looked at a couple of the contracts the other day, and in one contract in particular one lady was paid $60 an hour from when she left her domicile until she returned to her domicile in the evening.”
Hardesty then turned to Logan County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Doty and asked, “How in the world did you all come up with a contract where you pay a lady $60 an hour when she leaves her home until she returns home in the evening?”
Dr. Daniels noted she was informed that following the last state audit of Logan County Schools there was a feeling from the LCBOE that hiring the specific consultants was required by the state board.
Dr. Daniels explained, “I can only tell you that, in my position…we absolutely do not require any or identify any particular person, persons or group to perform any kind of duties for counties. That is a local county decision.”
Hardesty responded, “I was told that these people are all social friends who were hired on this contract. They commingle on the weekends. I find it appalling when people who are down here on contact go in our school system in front of our hardworking employees and say, ‘Hey you’re helping to pay for my retirement home. Because I’m part of the good ol’ boys network in Charleston.’”
The examination provided to the LCBOE also noted the excessive use of overtime by some county employees seemed to violate state rules.
Some employees of Logan County schools did not properly fill out their time sheets and managed to accrue over 1,000 hours of overtime in a single year.
The document states, “Many instances of overtime are being requested by the electrical maintenance and general maintenance supervisors…seemingly without the input of facility heads, such as school principals.”
The examination goes on to say maintenance and repair forms are not being completed in full and the forms which were submitted to the WVBOE did not include employee’s times of arrival or departure only the number of hours of overtime allegedly worked.
One instance pointed out by the WVBOE involves an employee being paid time and a half for 57 hours of overtime in a week in which they took three days of vacation.
The document adds, “The county does not appear to maintain records of overtime offered and records of the employee’s acceptance or refusal of that offer.”
In its instructions to Logan County Schools, the WVBOE is requiring the LCBOE to comply with state rules for properly filling out time sheets, calculating overtime and offering overtime on a rotating basis.
The LCBOE has also been instructed to cease all overtime unless it is expressly authorized in writing by Logan County Schools Superintendent Phyllis Doty.
The next meeting of the LCBOE is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 28 at the Ralph R. Willis Career and Technical Center.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 or by email at [email protected]