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School board gets raises to $800, too

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Commission's earlier vote automatically hikes board's pay

In July, the Wilson County Commission voted itself a pay raise to $800 per month, per commissioner. Now it turns out that by doing so, the commissioners also, in effect, gave Wilson County School Board members the same raise.

Pay equity was the reason cited Monday night when the county commission approved, 20-4, a budget increase for Wilson County Schools to make school board members' pay match county commissioners' pay - with Commissioners Chad Barnard (District 4), Jerry McFarland (District 5), Diane Weathers (District 16) and Cindy Brown (District 21) opposed.

Complying with 2006 vote

Monday night's vote approved a budget amendment request from the school board that, in turn, was intended to comply with a 2006 county commission resolution requiring pay equity between school board members and county commissioners.

The Wilson County School Board voted to make the request at its Aug. 31 meeting, passing a motion by Zone 2 Board Member Bill Robinson, seconded by Zone 4 Board Member Linda Armistead, and originally recommended by Deputy Director of Schools Mickey Hall.

"Pursuant to County Commission Resolution 06-11-10, the compensation of the school board is to be set at the same rate of the county commissioners," noted Hall's memo to the board at its Aug. 31 meeting.

"Therefore, the attached budget amendment," Hall wrote, "is being recommended to cover your new compensation rate per County Commission Resolution 06-11-10." As a preamble, Hall added that "during the budget approval process," the commissioners "doubled their compensation from $400 a month to $800 a month."

'Automatic increase'

The 2006 resolution mandates that "compensation of the Wilson County Board of Education be set at the same (rate) as the Wilson County Commission."

It further stipulates that "should the compensation of the members of the Wilson County Commission be increased at any time in the future, the compensation of the members of the Wilson County Board of Education shall automatically increase in a like amount."

The increase in the board members' compensation fund in the current Wilson County Schools' budget, approved Aug. 31 by the board and funded Monday night by the county commission, totals $27,517 after Social Security and Medicare taxes are added to the $25,517 increase in board members' pay.

In July, the commissioners voted 16-6, with three commissioners absent, to double their own salaries to $800 per month in a resolution sponsored by District 8 Commissioner Frank Bush which subsequently proved controversial among commentators on social media.

'Parity with cities'

Bush's resolution pointed out that the commissioners had not received a pay increase in nine years and that they currently were receiving less than half the amount paid by Mt. Juliet or Lebanon to their city commissioners and city councilors.

The six county commissioners casting "no" votes at that time were Chad Barnard (District 4), Jerry McFarland (District 5), Diane Weathers (District 16), Cindy Brown (District 21), Sue Vanatta (District 23) and Joy Bishop (District 24).

The commissioners' raises took effect retroactively, beginning July 1, according to the resolution.

Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@yahoo.com.

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raises, schools, Wilson County Commission, Wilson County School Board, Wilson County Schools
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