I-Team Exclusive: 5 Jobs = Nearly $300,000 Salary For NJ School Official
By Ben Simmoneau
WINSLOW Twp., N.J. (CBS) — A school administrator made nearly $300,000 in salary with five jobs last school year, paid with your tax dollars.
The I-Team found it’s not illegal, but it raises the question: Is it unreasonable? How many hours can one person devote to five jobs? And are the public schools paying for those jobs getting shortchanged? 3 On Your Side’s Ben Simmoneau tried to get some answers from the woman who got the paychecks.
People weren’t happy when the CBS 3 I-Team showed up at a Winslow Township School Board meeting.
“Can you explain to us how taxpayers here have your full-time attention if you have so many positions?” CBS 3 I-Team reporter Ben Simmoneau asked Ann Garcia.
Garcia is the Winslow Township Schools business administrator. Her salary: $156,000. But that is only about half her pay. You see, Garcia is a busy woman. Last year, she had four other jobs in all, paid with tax money.
“I don’t think anybody can do five jobs,” said Triin Angelino of Winslow Township.
“I don’t see how it can be done effectively. Maybe one to two, but not five jobs,” said Gawain Bragg of Winslow Township.
State records show Garcia earned $298,000 last school year, more than the highest-paid superintendents in New Jersey, and over $100,000 more than Gov. Chris Christie.
Lisa McNair is angry. She’s been unemployed.
“You only can do one at a time,” McNair said. “There’s only 24 hours in a day, so you tell me how can she really be doing five jobs?”
Ann Garcia’s job in Winslow is her only full-time position, but last school year, she also earned $6,900 as treasurer for the Voorhees School District; $18,000 as business administrator for the ECO Charter School in Camden; $56,000 for the same position at the Charter-Tech High School in Somers Point; and $60,000 as executive director of Vineland Public Charter School, where the Ippolitos have two kids, one job.
“We have one, and that’s hard enough,” said Mike Ippolito.
State officials thought Garcia had a lot of jobs, so they began investigating and found that she “intentionally provided misinformation” in paperwork submitted to prove her contract in Vineland was part-time, even though another version indicated it was full-time.
“It seems like a lot,” said Winslow Mayor Barry Wright. Wright says he wants to make sure his taxpayers are getting Garcia’s full-time attention.
“Of course I have concerns, like everyone in the township has concerns,” said Wright.
Jerry Klause, founder of Charter-Tech High, where Garcia makes $56,000 part time, says he gets his money’s worth.
“In sum, she made $298,000 last year,” said I-Team reporter Ben Simmoneau.
“Good for her,” said Klause.
“How many hours a week would you say she works for you?” asked Simmoneau.
“I have no idea,” Klause said.
“You don’t keep track?” asked Simmoneau.
“No,” said Klause. “She has brought knowledge, she brought experience, she’s brought organization. She’s gotten her job done.”
So how does she get all her jobs done? We tried to ask.
“Dr. Garcia, why are you walking away?” asked Simmoneau.
A Winslow school board member tried to block our camera. That member, Mark Benjamin, told us we were trespassing at a public meeting in a public school building.
“This is not part of a public meeting. This is executive session,” said Benjamin.
No one else was talking either.
Simmoneau asked Julie Peterson, the Winslow Township school board president, “Do you believe Dr. Garcia gives her full attention to this school district?”
“I have no comment because I’m going into a meeting,” Peterson replied.
“Can you talk to us after the meeting?” asked Simmoneau.
Said Peterson, “I don’t know. I’m not feeling well.”
The I-Team also asked Winslow Township Schools Superintendent Major Poteat.
“No comment,” he said.
“You’re a public official,” said Simmoneau. “How do you not have any comment on that?”
“I’m entitled to no comment,” Poteat responded.
Garcia lost her job in Voorhees last summer due to budget cuts, leaving her with four employers, which all say they’re happy with her performance.
Holding multiple jobs in different districts is not illegal in New Jersey for public school administrators as long as there is no conflict of interest, and the report did not find any in Garcia’s case.
Her problems, though, might not be over. The report has been referred to the New Jersey Attorney General, and the Education Department is considering revoking her certificates if they find she did intentionally mislead investigators. Garcia disputes she misled investigators and is appealing the findings of the report.