WASHINGTON — For the third time in recent weeks, the Prince George’s County, Maryland, school system’s CEO, Dr. Kevin Maxwell, is being criticized for giving raises to staff members.
This time, three members of the Board of Education allege that Maxwell overstepped his bounds because the raises were given to staff members outside the executive’s direct supervision.
In a letter Thursday to County Executive Rushern Baker, the three board members — Edward Burroughs III, Raaheela Ahmed and David Murray — refer to the raises for two staff members as “unauthorized” because the employees given the raises are not part of the executive’s cabinet.
Additionally, the three board members object to the size of the raises: one of 9.4 percent and one of 16 percent.
In their letter to the county executive, the three said, “We can assure you that the principals and assistant principals that belong to [the Association of Supervisory & Administrative School Personnel] have not received pay increases anywhere near the magnitude authorized by Dr. Maxwell for these select employees of the central office.”
In an interview with WTOP, Burroughs referenced the 2013 law that allowed the county executive to appoint the school CEO.
“Under HB 1107 that granted the authority to the CEO, it only covers members of his executive cabinet,” Burroughs said. “It granted the CEO the authority to hire and set salaries for his executive staff.” But, said Burroughs, “the individuals that he approved raises for in this latest batch are not members of his executive staff.”
Burroughs insists that means that the latest raises are in direct violation of the law.
“We all have to follow rules, policies, procedures and state laws, and no one’s exempt from that,” he said.
John White, the spokesman for the Prince George’s County school system, told The Washington Post that there was nothing improper about the raises. WTOP reached out to White for comment and has not yet heard back.
Maxwell, who was reappointed for a second four-year term by Baker, has been sharply criticized for his management from a number of quarters. The three members of the Board of Education who sent Thursday’s letter urged Baker to fire Maxwell. The local chapter of the NAACP has called for his removal as well. And after audits at the local and state level revealed widespread grade-changing, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called for Maxwell’s firing.
This week, Democratic state Sen. Anthony Muse called for Maxwell’s job and urged the state’s attorney, Angela Alsobrooks, to investigate Maxwell. In response, Alsobrooks dismissed Muse’s suggestion as “tomfoolery” but did call for Maxwell’s resignation.
Despite the chorus of criticism, Baker has stood by Maxwell, insisting the CEO has improved school performance and provided stability to a system that previously saw frequent churn among school leaders.