POINT PLEASANT — On Thursday morning, Superintendent Suzanne Dickens and Board of Education (BOE) President Tom Nunnery announced the Mason County BOE has appealed the grievance filed by Mason County Schools service personnel.
Dickens stated now the board has appealed the grievance, which was filed with the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board, there is usually a minimum period of three to four months, possibly up to a year, before a decision on the appeal is made. Dickens made no further comment on the appeal.
Dickens also explained another aspect of the increase of the work day for service personnel on Thursday morning, comparing the pay grades of cooks and custodians as an example. Dickens said both groups of employees’ compensation were at a Pay Grade C level, but previously custodians were working an eight-hour day and the cooks a seven-hour day for their respective compensation. The change would equalize the two groups.
Dickens also wished to clarify two items reported on in Thursday’s edition, the first being the statement which said service personnel could not sign the letter they received agreeing to the new contract and still request a hearing with the board. Dickens stated all employees affected by the Reduction In Force (RIF) and transfer process may have a hearing with the board if one is requested.
In addition, it was reported if the employees did not sign the letter they would be placed on the RIF list and their jobs would be re-posted. Dickens noted the difference between the normal RIF list and the contractual RIF list, stating the letters the employees received on reconfiguring their contracts were in regards to the contractual RIF list; the employees’ contract, not their position, was being changed. She continued, saying the jobs on the contractual RIF list could legally be posted for others to apply for, but she and the board had decided not to post them.
As previously reported on the grievance, service personnel including teacher’s aides, cooks and secretaries were increased to an eight-hour day from a seven-hour day when Policy 6700 regarding the calculation of overtime was enforced beginning with the 2011-12 school year. When the work day was increased, the employees’ compensation was not.
Service personnel also recently met with Jeremy Radabaugh, organizational development specialist with the West Virginia Education Association, to discuss their options with the letters they had received from the BOE. If the employees did sign the letter explaining the changes in their contract, the employee was ensuring he/she could not be transferred and that he/she would stay in their current position. At their most recent meeting, many of the service personnel came to a consensus to sign their letters.
Radabaugh also noted by signing the letter, the employees were not waiving the grievance. In addition, since not all service personnel involved were listed in the grievance, by law the BOE only has to compensate those listed should the appeal be denied. Radabaugh also said he would be looking into options which would allow all employees to get paid and for that to begin immediately.