Chart offers savings, but isn't made public

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A new organizational chart, said to offer $300,000 in savings for county schools, wasn't approved Monday when school board members said the plan would create new jobs, and there wasn't enough time to study it.

Also that night, Schools Director Roy Dukes refused the Tribune's request for a copy of the chart that the board was discussing at its public meeting in the central office. Dukes reason? The board had not approved it.

Board members only received the chart Monday morning, but in general, they liked it.

"It's laid out really well compared to last year," Board member Curt Denton said.

Board member Craig Michael added, "I like the way it reduces the number of direct reports" to the director.

While the position of assistant director - held by Dukes until he stepped up into the interim director's job, and, later, into the director's position - is eliminated, those duties are divided between two deputy directors.

"I'm not comfortable with opening up two new positions," protested Barbara Kennedy. "We've been asked to cut our budget."

Dukes explained he did not intend to hire new employees.

"The people could already be there," Dukes said.

He proposes to shift responsibilities at the Central Office.

Dukes refused to say who might do which job, saying he had to find out who was interested.

"We could be creating two new positions if we approve this chart," board member Kristen Gold said.

Michael noted, "There's no human resources position."

Michael said he studied the chart for five hours after it was delivered at 9 a.m. Monda.

"No assistant director - that's $200,000-plus saved; and it's streamlined," Michael said.

Board member Randy Perryman said "It's obviously important. I'd like to table it until our special called meeting."

Gold agreed.

"It's probably one of the biggest things we do," she said. "I'm not comfortable with passing it until I get my questions answered. We need dollar amounts with the positions, and we need to know where it saves money."

Kennedy said, "This is a budget issue. I'd like to see job descriptions for the deputy directors."

Michael proposed holding the special meeting as soon as possible, on Thursday.

"I don't feel a sense of urgency," he complained. "We are frozen until we address the budget crisis and we can't do that without the organizational chart."

The board did not agree with him: by a 6-3 vote the board agreed to meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 17, to discuss the organizational chart, as well as budget and federal budget issues.