School board OKs counselor rehire

In a 180-degree turn, the South Whidbey Board of Education reversed its decision on rehiring a retired employee.

During Monday night’s workshop, board members unanimously approved a personnel report that included rehiring the retired Langley Middle School counselor Steve McLeod.

McLeod has been serving in that position as a substitute since the board voted last month not to approve his rehire because of concerns with the state retire-rehire law.

The board decided to go ahead with it because they did not have a policy in place at the time McLeod was selected by a five-member hiring committee.

In spite of that fact, the board had approved another retire rehire last year.

“We are late with our policy,” said board president Ray Gabelein, Jr. “We should have done this before.”

Gabelein said the board was negligent in not addressing the issue the first time it came up. He also complimented Langley Middle School Principal Greg Willis for the way they handled the situation.

The board actually rejected the McLeod’s rehire twice before Monday’s workshop.

The district’s policy committee is working on a policy that speaks to retire–rehires. The policy had its first reading Monday night.

Patrice O’Neill, a member of the audience at the workshop, said she has had experience at the hospital with personnel who have retired and been rehired technicians.

“They can cause resentment among other workers because they are able to double dip, receive a retirement income along with their salary,” she said.

An attempt to rehire a retired McLeod counselor failed to get approval from the board during the September meeting because of concerns with the state law. The action then prompted a lengthy discussion of how the school district will handle similar decisions in the future and the board charged the policy committee headed by Dan Blanton assistant superintendent to develop a policy.

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