Education

Audit: Granville school leaders received pay raises without full board approval

Posted May 16
Updated June 3

An audit released Friday found that Granville County school leaders received large pay raises and contract extensions without the approval of the full Board of Education. 

"Most board members expressed that they were surprised to learn the details" of the contracts, according to Jill Wilson, an attorney with Brooks Pierce in Greensboro, who was hired by the school board to do the audit.  

Superintendent plaque North Carolina superintendents' contracts

In several instances, the contracts noted that the board "voted unanimously" to approve pay hikes and other changes, but the auditor found that there was "absolutely no evidence" in the board's meeting minutes or from board members' recollections that the votes ever occurred.

"The board chair believed he and counsel for the board were authorized to not only engage in negotiations with senior staff, but to enter into contracts on behalf of the board of education without any formal action of the board whatsoever," Wilson wrote.

Wilson found that Superintendent Tim Farley "is the second highest paid superintendent in the state with less than 25,000 students." She also found that Associate Superintendent Allan Jordan received a "'cost of living allowance' and a large raise that was applied retroactively even though the fiscal year was over."

From 2007 until now, Jordan's total compensation "changed from just over $92,000 to almost $172,000, which was applied retroactively beginning Jan. 1, 2012, through the present, with only $1,800 of that increase actually resulting from board action," Wilson wrote.

School board members met in closed session for nearly three hours Friday evening to discuss the audit and craft a public statement. Reporters and members of the public waited outside the board room and could hear yelling and raised voices coming from the meeting room several times.

When the public was allowed back inside, the board's new interim attorney, Nick Sojka, read a prepared statement and said the board's current attorney, Jim Cross, who helped handle the contracts, is no longer welcome at board meetings.

"The board anticipates additional meetings and actions on an expedited basis in order to address matters identified in the report released tonight," Sojka said, declining to give more details about what those actions could be.

Cross, who recently announced that he plans to retire as the school board's attorney, told WRAL News this week that he knew "very little" about the audit. He was not present at Friday's meeting. When asked how he and the board handled contracts, Cross declined to comment and referred all questions to Sojka.

Sojka said the board plans to follow the recommendations made in the audit, including that board members vote on all contract changes. He declined to say whether any personnel or salary changes would be made as a result of the audit.

The superintendent was at Friday's meeting but did not speak publicly about the audit. The associate superintendent was not in attendance, but his attorney talked with WRAL News earlier this week.

"I don’t believe that my client is aware about the information contained in (the audit)," said attorney Ellis Boyle, who represents Jordan. "I don’t think he thinks there was anything inappropriate (in the contracts), at least by him. I don’t think he's concerned that it would reflect negatively on him."

8 Comments

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  • JustaThought2 May 19, 4:54 p.m.

    Take a look at Jordan's contract. He is paid a $10,500 per year "living allowance" in addition to his salary and other perks. How many teachers in Granville County get a deal like this? The answer is NONE. Many teachers are paying out of their own pockets for school supplies while the fat cats pad their own pockets. Wake up folks, the house needs a good cleaning!

  • Ven May 19, 4:39 p.m.

    Ridiculous and typical.

  • JustaThought2 May 19, 2:16 p.m.

    Take a few minutes to read Farley's contract. He is paid $1,090 per month for transportation expenses, is provided a school vehicle for use and is reimbursed for all out of county transportation costs. Sounds like triple dipping to me. Also the BOE pays the health and dental insurance premiums for his family and the cost of his personal cell phone. My opinion is that this violates the NC Constitution regarding use of public funds. Read this quote from the UNC School of Government regarding the public purpose doctrine: "Section 2(1) of Article V of the North Carolina Constitution provides that “[t]he power of taxation[] be exercised in a just and equitable manner, for public purposes only . . . .” Known as the public purpose limitation, this provision requires that all public funds, no matter what their source, be expended for the benefit of the citizens of a unit generally, and not solely for the benefit of particular persons or interests." Now what do you think?

  • meldenis May 19, 2:07 p.m.

    This is absolutely ridiculous that little Granville county is paying all this money out like it was Wake county. The Board of Education needs to renegotiate these contracts immediately. If the superintendent & assistant refuse, get rid of them and get new people the county taxpayers can afford. Investigate & see who got paid under the table on this matter.

  • scubagirl2 May 19, 1:32 p.m.

    Gotta love that they post this on a friday NIGHT when no one can comment then hide it by monday morning so no one can FIND it.

    THIS story should be front page news as disgusting as it is. HOW DARE they do this when teachers haven't gotten raises and all the other things the BOE has been talking about lately. DISGUSTING!!!!!

    They need to be swiftly dealt with and severely punished AND fined.

  • lisagferrell May 19, 1:14 p.m.

    I completely agree with the previous comments. This needs more attention on your website and more attention from the Treasurer's Office. This is a real disgrace. It affects me personally as my child is in the Granville County school district. I am completely appalled by this behavior. It's downright criminal.

  • JustaThought2 May 19, 10:53 a.m.

    Oldest PR trick in the world. When something is really bad, wait and release it on Friday after 5P. Sounds like the new lawyer they have might be slicker than the old one when it comes to press matters. I agree that the story needs to go back on the front page. Hope the SBI and the State Treasurer's Office are taking note of this. Sounds like Jordan was padding his salary prior to retiring in order to get a bigger monthly retirement check. Treasurer's Office is suppose to be cracking down on this.

  • gopack10 May 19, 9:09 a.m.

    Just love how this story got tucked away off the website....this needs to be out there for the poeple of NC and Granville County to see the abuse of taxpayers money AND how Granville County cuts positions left and right to "make ends meet"...BS rather to make their salaries larger. Ridiculous that little Granville County has the 2nd highest paid leader in the state!!! Put this back on the main page for all to see!