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by Betty Peters
District 2 Representative
State Board of Education

Many newspapers recently ran an article by AP reporter Desiree Hunter about the Alabama Community College System’s proposed search for a new chancellor. Apparently it generated several editorials. I would like to clarify what happened regarding former Chancellor Roy Johnson’s pay raise.

In 2005, a committee of several state school board members (including Dr. Mary Jane Caylor) was appointed to make a recommendation for a salary increase for Johnson. Dr. Caylor presented what I thought was a very vague recommendation to the board (it had no precise amount of the total, which included deferred compensation). Justification offered for the large raise included a comment that if he didn’t get the raise, Johnson might leave us to accept the headship of AEA. All voted for it except Stephanie Bell and myself. When I explained my negative vote, I turned to Mr. Johnson to say that I was voting ”No” because the pay raise was excessive and sent a bad message to the taxpayers and would be better used in the classrooms.

A year later Stephanie Bell and I tried to pass a motion to fire Johnson but no one would vote with us. Later in the year there was a motion to put Johnson on administrative leave with pay. Bell and I were unsuccessful in our attempt to convince others to fire him without pay.

I agree with you that “we should weigh options, come to the best conclusion on what the new chancellor’s salary should be and pursue the best person for the job while keeping future pay raises to a minimum.” And yes, as you pointed out, that 2005 raise, which was recommended by the committee and presented by Dr. Caylor, did not work out very well. And two of us knew it would not.