Monday, June 8, 2009

County pays $111,631 for workers' tuition

In January, DSS Director Mary Wilson wrote a letter telling workers the county would reimburse them for 50 percent of their college tuition, fees and books. The letter says the county would provide reimbursement retroactively, to January 2006.

Click here to read Wilson's e-mail.

As a result, Mecklenburg County paid $111,631 for 37 Department of Social Services employees who took college courses or other training.

The Observer and its news partner, NewsChannel 36, inquired about the expenditure last week, as detailed in Saturday's story.

Mecklenburg County Manager Harry Jones on Friday defended using taxpayer money to help pay college tuition for county DSS workers despite proposing reductions in county services and job losses.

Commissioner Bill James criticized the decision, calling it a “dumb thing to do” in a faltering economy.

County board chairperson Jennifer Roberts said the “timing of these reimbursements is questionable.” But she also noted that employees paid their own money for training to make them better at their jobs.

- Fred Clasen-Kelly

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I will bet that alot of these employess qualify for some sort of grant to help aid in paying tuiton. With the economy so bad right now and tuition being so high, it's hard to understand how someone could come up with that type of money.

Kinda ironic to go to school to get an increase in pay and the job reimburse you only half. They are actually giving free money. When the state probably issued them a grant for going back to school.

If DSS is on a hiring freeze? Seem like the freeze should apply all the way around. Besides, who wouldn't take an opportunity to get money for going back to school?

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure employees only get reimbursed for what they ACTUALLY paid, not the total bill before grants or other tuition assistance. You have to turn in documentation of what you paid, I would think. (IF not, then that's a different complaint.)
Nonetheless, retroactive reimbursement from 3 years ago? Seems odd to me.

Anonymous said...

Make the THIEVES pay this money back before they raise my *&%%&&* taxes!

Trout.Dude said...

the county should pay 100% of the tuition, 50% is crappola

it sounds like a lot, but an oracle class is $1500 per month

Anonymous said...

What is the problem?? Don't your employer pay for you to go school? Mine does!! I don't know of too many companies that don't pay for their employees to go school to better themselves. Thats part of the benefits package. No matter what the economy is!! Give me a break with the crazy comments!!

Anonymous said...

I think Ms. Wilson is doing the right thing by making sure they get this benefit, its not a problem and we as citizen dont' mind that. Its not wasteful spending. Go look else where and get off DSS. It's also part of the benefits package. No matter what the economy is!! Give me a break with the crazy comments!!

Anonymous said...

Tuition reimbursement IS necessary!!! It ensures that the amount of uneducated fools that have historically been in charge at DSS will decrease...and DSS will finally have a better pool of employees to choose from when the hiring freeze goes away and more vacancies are available. Look at the whole picture people. Today isn't everything. Think ahead. And like another poster said, it was a part of the County's benefits package, before M. Wilson arrived.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what the issue is with actually doing something halfway decent (not all the way since it's only 50% reimbursement) for these people. Granted, this may have been a "let me make it up jesture" from Ms. Wilson for all the "ruckus" I hear she is causing in the department with her massage list of bad judgments. However, I agree with the blogger who said that this is one way to get those better qualified people in DSS.

Anonymous said...

There was no crime committed. I think it's just news people looking for a story and trying to make something out of nothing. Most employers do this all the time.

Mary said...

If the college class had something to do with the job and was on a list of approved classes, I'd think it would be OK.

Anonymous said...

Why did she go back to 2006? I'll bet she paid tuition for her "freinds" from Friendship and/or friends of Harry Jones... makes no sense... while helping employees with educational expenses is a good idea, there is much more to this story if you could just dig deeper... but the county management will be VERY careful about what they release and how long they take to release it... keep digging... there is much more to learn about how DSS and the Manager's office really works.... I only hope more employees will come forward so the public can learn the truth!

Anonymous said...

Yes, tuition reimbursement can be a good deal for an employer, if the employee signs an agreement to stay for xxx months after the reimbursement. However, the issue here is whether making it retroactive was valid and smart.

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Margaret

http://grantsforeducation.info

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