Wake County

Wake school system’s top human resources official reassigned

Doug Thilman was transferred from the position of Wake County assistant superintendent for human resources to a senior director in the school transportation department.
Doug Thilman was transferred from the position of Wake County assistant superintendent for human resources to a senior director in the school transportation department.

The top-ranked official overseeing human resources for the Wake County school system has been reassigned to a lower-paid position in the transportation department.

Doug Thilman requested the transfer, said Lisa Luten, a school district spokeswoman.

It came after an internal investigation last fall of his email use.

Thilman was transferred on Feb. 1 from assistant superintendent for human resources to the newly created position of senior director for customer service in the transportation department. Thilman’s new job comes with a decrease in pay from $128,267 annually to $120,163.

Thilman, who had overseen the Human Resources Department since 2013, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Last year, the district investigated email messages sent by Thilman, according to school board Chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler. She said Superintendent Jim Merrill notified the board that the investigation had been completed but did not tell them the results.

“I trust Dr. Merrill and his staff did a thorough job investigating,” Johnson-Hostler said. “We really have confidence in Dr. Merrill to do the necessary job.”

School district officials declined to comment on why Thilman was investigated and on who conducted the investigation, citing rules against providing information contained in an employee’s personnel file.

School district officials declined to comment on why Doug Thilman was investigated and on who conducted the investigation.

Thilman was not suspended, according to Luten.

He has worked in Wake for nearly 20 years, starting as a teacher and later administrative intern at Southeast Raleigh High School. He later became an assistant principal of Millbrook High School, principal of West Cary Middle School and principal of Cary High School before being put in charge of human resources.

As an assistant superintendent, Thilman was a member of Merrill’s leadership team. He was in charge of helping to recruit and retain Wake’s 19,000 school employees.

Thilman’s job change was officially announced at Tuesday’s school board meeting. Until the human resources job is filled, retired administrator Kathryn Chontos will serve as interim assistant superintendent.

The salary range recommended for the new senior director for customer service position was $76,724 to $115,088.

“If there was a reassignment, I’m trusting that Dr. Merrill saw there was a need to do so,” Johnson-Hostler said.

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