OXFORD: Granville Co. Schools superintendent resigns - WNCN: News, Weather

Granville Co. Schools superintendent resigns following audit report

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Granville County Schools Supt. Tim Farley said a recent independent audit conducted for the school board contains major distortions. Granville County Schools Supt. Tim Farley said a recent independent audit conducted for the school board contains major distortions.
OXFORD, N.C. -

The Granville County school board voted Wednesday to accept its superintendent's resignation after an audit claimed he and another administrator received large raises seemingly without formal approval of the school board.

In accepting superintendent Tim Farley's resignation Thursday, the school board cited a difference of opinions. The board voted 5-2 to accept his resignation as well as pay him a one-time payment of $318,000.

Farley will take personal time effective immediately, meaning he will not return to work between now and when his resignation does into effect on June 30.

The board also appointed Dorwin Howard as the school system's acting superintendent.

"The personnel actions taken tonight with respect to Dr. Farley and the appointment of Dr. Howard as acting superintendent have been taken in the best interests of the Granville County Schools and its teachers, staff, students and parents," the school board said in a statement. "By taking these actions tonight, the board seeks to refocus the school system on its mission to provide the best possible education for the children of Granville County."

Farley had been under fire after an audit report claimed he and assistant superintendent Allan Jordan received large raises seemingly without formal approval of the school board.

Among the audit's specifics, it claimed that on May 7, 2012, the school board unanimously entered into a new contract with Farley, but the audit says minutes from the meeting show no reference to a vote on his latest contract. That contract gave Farley a salary of $192,492, which the audit says makes him the second highest paid superintendent in the state.

Farley's 2007 contract paid him $150,000 and in 2009 he earned $168,742. For comparison, Wake County Public School System Superintendent Jim Merrill earns $275,000. But while Wake County boasts a student population of more than 150,000, Granville County has fewer than 10,000 students.

Farley, however, said the reason the minutes from the meeting showed no reference to a vote was because it was a closed-door meeting and Farley was not permitted in the executive session. Farley said he is also the board's secretary, which accounts for the lack of details in the minutes.

"At that meeting -- in executive session -- there was presented a list of administrators for approval. I'm not privy to that meeting because it's an executive session and the secretary of the board -- who is me -- is removed because they also talked about my contract," Farley explained.

"So I was not there to take notes; there were no notes taken," he continued. "When they came out of executive session, they voted on what they talked about and I accurately portrayed the vote in that they approved administrative contracts."

Farley said he also offered to give back some of the money after he was asked during a September board meeting to do so. He said his salary was ultimately decreased after a vote in November, and he offered again in April to take another pay cut.

"[The board was] a little anxious about the money portrayed in the press," Farley said of the September meeting. "We talked and they said, 'Tim, would you consider taking a decrease?' And I said, 'Sure, I don't want to be a divisive force.'"

Farley said the board has not responded to his April offer to take another pay cut.

"I even went to my board in April and said to them, 'I get this, I want to stay in Granville County. I'm happy to talk about a decrease in my salary. Whatever that may look like, we can negotiate that to no end,'" Farley said. "I'm not going to say they refused. I will tell you they did not act on that offer."

One of the school board members who voted against accepting Farley's resignation called the action against the former superintendent a vendetta.

"As a superintendent he makes decisions that everyone doesn't necessarily like," Leonard Peace said. "And in my opinion, there were board members that took that personally."

Chairwoman Brenda Dickerson-Daniel disputed that claim, however, insisting "we had distinct differences of opinion.

"This basically -- it's just in the best interest of Granville County teachers students and staff," Daniel said.

The audit further claimed that Jordan's compensation went up from $92,000 in 2007 to $172,000 in 2013, and the 2013 raise was retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012. Only $1,800 of Jordan's raise resulted from school board action, the audit said.

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Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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