State Superintendent Mark Johnson will be able to hire more employees with unused salary money, the state House decided Monday.
Johnson, a first-term Republican, is battling with the Republican State Board of Education over hiring at the Department of Public Instruction. About a dozen employees work for both the board and the superintendent. Johnson has said that the board would not let him hire his choices for key positions.
Johnson should be allowed to “choose less than 1 percent of the employees in the building without having to get the state board’s approval,” said Rep. Hugh Blackwell, a Burke County Republican.
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The House bill that would let Johnson hire about five or six people who would report to him passed 76-41. The money to pay them will come from eliminating eight unfilled jobs.
Rep. Graig Meyer, an Orange County Democrat, said the 800 or so people who work at the state Department of Public Instruction consider Johnson their boss. “Pretty much everyone knows they report to the superintendent,” Meyer said.
The House is eliminating jobs that DPI needs but are vacant because the advertised salaries were too low to attract qualified candidates, Meyer said.