Sunday, November 13, 2011

Williams Stapleton brouhaha raises question

Give the Journal credit for calling out APS Supt Winston Brooks on the handling of Rep Sheryl Williams Stapleton's compensation as a legislator/administrator, link.

They're right and wrong on at least two points; per diem is not the same thing as salary, though the editors conflate the two when they argue that if compensation for jury duty has to be surrendered in place of full salary, then per diem should also be surrendered. Per diem is not compensation for service; it is compensation for legitimate expenses incurred by legislators who live some distance from the roundhouse. If jurors received per diem in addition to compensation, they would not be compelled to surrender it. Whether the per diem is unrealistically high or low, doesn't play. Compensation for service and per diem are apples and oranges.

The editors also argue that APS employees should use up sick leave and holiday pay while they serve in the legislature. It is unclear how an employee could use holiday pay on any day that wasn't a holiday, when the legislature is not in session anyway. The forfeiture of sick pay would violate any policy that requires sick leave to be used for sickness. Would the editors give their stamp of approval to ignoring that rule, but not others?

The editors glanced off the real problem with administrator Williams Stapleton being an administrators and a legislator. Are there full time administrative slots that can lay empty for weeks a time? Are there APS administrators getting full time pay for part time jobs? Why, so they have time to serve in the legislature?

In her own defense, Williams Stapleton asserted categorically; she fulfilled all her APS responsibilities in addition to her legislative obligations; that taxpayers have not been shortchanged.

The editors did strike one nail squarely on the head; what about students in classes where there are substitute teachers for fully one third of the year? Granted, some of these subs are "long term subs" and more highly qualified to take over classes long term, but all in all, that many days of substitutes really cannot be in students' best interests. If teachers want to serve in the legislature; they should not have class loads at the same time.

Hopefully, this will spark some discussion about our "citizen legislature" and the advantage it gives to people who are independently wealthy, or who work for the APS. And the advantage it gives to the school districts that can afford to send administrators off to lobby for them in the Roundhouse.

photo Mark Bralley

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo. At least someone like you shows some sense in this.
And where is Stapleton's press release on this?
Shouldn't, in all decency, she should offer to pay those days back, at least in some kind of payment plan?
Stapleton is a "Ï don't have to tell you if I don wanna"kind of uppity politician after all.