Flint, MI—The Flint Community Schools (FCS) Board of Education has authorized an investigation into a district employee’s retirement payout, which was approved by the previous Board that presided over the district in 2022.
At a Wednesday, March 15, 2023, meeting, the Board voted unanimously to investigate the payment of unused PTO, or paid time off, to an executive assistant upon her retirement.
Michael Clack, the Board president, said during the meeting that the former employee was paid $61,000 in unused PTO, which Board Attorney Charis Lee later clarified to Flint Beat the exact amount to be $61,347.
While the district’s professional and technical staff, including executive assistants, are not represented by the union, it’s part of Flint Schools’ past practice to pay them per the conditions of the Congress of Flint School Administrators contract.
But the Congress’ contract states that “members who retire with a minimum of ten (10) years of District service shall receive $50.00 additional terminal pay for each unused accumulated PTO day up to a maximum of 125 PTO days (prorated for fractional days).”
That means the maximum amount paid is up to $6,250, said Clack, who sought the motion to launch an investigation. He raised his concerns about the actions of the previous Board during the Wednesday meeting, and pointed to an independent auditor’s report that highlighted the payout in question.
“How did $61,000 come out of this Board? This decision was made by the Board,” Clack said. “It was voted upon by the Board.”
The Board approved the payout at a June 15, 2022, regular board meeting, Lee said, and they circumvented the district’s usual practice of paying non-union members according to the Congress’ contract.
“What happened here is that the Board bypassed that and that can have serious consequences, like everyone else expecting the same treatment which we obviously cannot afford,” Lee said on Wednesday.
But Trustee Laura MacIntyre, who was the Board treasurer during the June vote, said the “monetary amount” of the payout was unknown at the time of voting.
“We voted to have this employee compensated fairly according to the law,” MacIntyre said during the Wednesday meeting. “We didn’t vote on any monetary amount. We had no idea what the monetary amount would be.”
Trustee Joyce Ellis-McNeal, the Board president during the June vote, noted, “Bring it on, bring on an investigation.”
At the June 15, 2022 meeting, MacIntyre made the motion to pay the employee for “non-work days” and “sick days.” It was passed 5-0, with Chris Del Morone, Linda Boose, MacIntyre, Allen Gilbert and Ellis-McNeal voting yes. Carol McIntosh and Danielle Green were absent. MacIntyre and Ellis-McNeal are the two remaining members of the previous board that sit on the new board.
Following the vote, Lee said this Wednesday that both McIntosh and Gilbert expressed concerns about the move.
Meanwhile, Sharita Galloway, the district’s executive director of human resources said payouts for retiring staff shouldn’t have come before the Board’s vote in the first place.
She added, “There was no movement of the administration to do anything outside of what the Board voted. We did not have any power or authority to not operate under the Board’s vote. They voted specific for the amount of days, which was in excess to the policy, and they voted specifically at daily rate, which was in excess of the policy.”
Kevelin Jones, the district’s superintendent, said the vote came out of left field and the item was “not on the agenda.” He added that the employee had previously asked him about compensation of unused PTO upon her retirement, though he denied her request given that further due diligence by the district was needed.
“She usurped my authority and went over me to a board member, and that’s how that came, and it was on a script,” Jones said. “It was not on my script.”
In an email, Jones further added that “this administration wants to focus on work that will impact scholars and staff.”