Salary issue resurfaces

Published 8:32 am Thursday, May 19, 2011

WINDSOR – Members of the Bertie County Board of Education should be compensated for meetings they attend.

That was the opinion of School Board Vice Chair Pamela Chamblee during a called meeting Tuesday afternoon when the issue of board salaries was discussed.

Chamblee’s statement came while board members discussed the budget request that has been presented to the Bertie County Board of Commissioners.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debbie Harris-Rollins said she had spoken with county officials concerning the change in the budget made by former Interim Superintendent Dr. Will Crawford.

Between approval by the board and the presentation before the commissioners, Dr. Crawford moved $12,000 to the line item that pays board salaries. He said it was done to allow board members to request an increase in compensation if they desired.

At the last budget workshop, however, board members decided to leave the budget they approved rather than adding the $12,000 into their line item.

Dr. Harris-Rollins said county leaders told her to simply have Board of Education Chair Gloria Lee submit a letter requesting the change since it did not increase the overall amount of money being requested from the county.

Chamblee said that before Lee signed the letter, she wanted to discuss it. She said the board had reconsidered their position on the raise because of the possible staff cuts and tough economic times and because two board members (Alton Parker and Rickey Freeman) were specifically against it.

“These meetings are eating me up,” she said. “I doubt seriously Pamela Chamblee will continue to come to meeting after meeting without being compensated in some way.”

She said she had tried to be understanding to the feelings of the other two board members, but called herself a “realist” and said she was having to leave work early to attend some meetings.

Chamblee said the meetings were often necessary and that other board members often did not make the special meetings.

“Before you sign that can I put a motion out there,” Chamblee asked. “Is that my prerogative?”

Lee said it was always a board member’s choice to enter a motion.

Dr. Harris-Rollins said whatever decision the board wished to make should be done quickly because the commissioners were already considering the local budget for 2011-12.

Lee said it was possible the subject could be addressed by a budget amendment at a later time if the board voted to precede with the idea of additional compensation.

Chamblee said she would not make a motion, but said she may not be able to continue to come to all special meetings of the board.

“Maybe one meeting a month is all we need,” she closed.