Russell Capps, president emeritus of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, fired an explosive charge at Monday afternoon’s Wake County Board of Commissioners’ budget public hearing accusing Superintendent Jim Merrill of asking for an exorbitant personal pay raise.
“One thing that does bother me tremendously is that the superintendent, who has been superintendent less than one year, has asked for himself a 13 percent increase in pay,” said Capps, a former state legislator. “That’s appalling to me, and I think the public needs to know this.”
But Capps is leaving out some details that explain the apparent budget increase.
At issue is page 69 of the budget, which does show that the school system has budgeted a 13 percent increase for the superintendent. But the footnote next to the line item says that’s because the superintendent’s position was vacant for part of the 2013-14 fiscal year so the district transferred the unused salary and benefits to savings. The footnote adds that the budget is reinstated effective July 1, 2014.
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Merrill didn‘t start as superintendent until August. This means the district didn’t use the money budgeted in July to pay for the position’s salary. Merrill also receives $25,000 more per year than his predecessor, Tony Tata.