Tuesday was the first full day in office for new State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. But one of her first tasks will be figuring out what to do with the 22 people her predecessor Janet Barresi hired or promoted on her way out.
The salary of those new hires since Nov. 1 added up to $652,500. In addition, $80,000 in raises came along with those new promotions.
Since Nov. 1, Barresi hired 13 new people with yearly salaries ranging from $90,000 to $25,000. She also promoted nine employees with raises that amounted to, in some cases, $18,000 and $17,000 dollars.
"I am disappointed by the flurry of hirings, promotions and job transfers enacted by my predecessor in her final weeks." said Joy Hofmeister, who defeated Barresi in the primary election and took over as State Superintendent Monday.
All this came just months after Barresi drew calls for her resignation for creating a position that paid $90,000 and hiring Larry Birney, the husband of her general counsel.
“I see that as a pretty significant move,” said Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman.
It also prompted Sen. Standridge to propose new legislation that would mandate board approval before lame-duck state officials were allowed to hire or create new positions.
“On your way out maybe you ought to have a second opinion on those types of big decisions, especially on creating a new position,” he said.
The recent hires and promotions were all to vacant positions. But Hofmeister said she will review all of the personnel moves individually and make her own decisions on what to do with them.
Barresi Hires Since Nov. 1
11/3/2014 Beth Steele Director- SIG $62,000
11/12/2014 Sidney Smith Administrative Assistant $28,500
11/12/2014 Brian Irvine Project Director/Financial $52,500
11/17/2014 Barby Osborn Administrative Assistant $25,500
12/01/2014 Jacquelyn Cullen Professional Development $47,985
12/01/2014 Rebecca Thompson Coordinator-Purchasing $40,000
12/11/2014 Stacy Eden Administrative Assistant $25,500
12/22/2014 Samantha Sheppard Administrative Assistant $25,500
1/05/2015 Mitzi Perry Financial Specialist $35,000
1/05/2015 VaRhea Owens School Support Specialist $55,000
1/05/2015 Rebecca Wilkinson Executive Director $90,000
1/05/2015 Jeff Colclasure Accrediation Officer $55,500
1/05/2015 Colin Higbee School Support Specialist $55,000
Barresi promotions since Nov 1
11/01/2014 Lori Gray to Human Resources Specialist $5,000
11/01/2014 Shellie Gammill Executive Dir $17,000
11/01/2014 LaDonna Shirely Executive Asst. $9,500
11/01/2014 Anita Eccard Executive Dir $7,500
12/01/2014 Kelly Freeman Financial Specialist $5,000
12/01/2014 Ian Cox Financial Specialist $8,000
1/7/2015 Kayla Hindman Director $5,000
1/7/2015 Michele Sprague Executive Director $5,000
1/9/2015 Todd Loftin Asst. State $18,000