A Hanover supervisor has been receiving more than double the annual pay usually allotted for his position as traffic guard at two county schools.
Elton Wade Sr., Cold Harbor supervisor, currently earns $30,030 annually in his capacity with the school system when the most anyone can earn under the current job description is slightly less than $14,000.
According to a traffic guard job description received by the Herald-Progress, the school system’s current top pay rate for the job is $19.07 per hour for a position that’s staffed four hours a day, 182 days out of the year. The most any employee working at this top rate for that amount of time could earn is $13,883 per year. If Wade’s salary is broken down into an hourly rate, he earns approximately $41.25 per hour.
In her first statement since news broke of Wade’s inflated school salary, Jamelle Wilson, superintendent of schools, said her office and the school board “recognize the need to examine the compensation policies and structures for all its employees, including all traffic guards who fill two job assignments, and are committed to completing a thorough review.”
Wilson also offered a background of Wade’s employment with the school system and the breakdowns that led to his inflated salary.
Wade currently works as a traffic guard at Stonewall Jackson Middle and Pole Green Elementary schools. His employment with the school system began in 1961 as a school bus driver. In 1988, Wade became a traffic guard at Stonewall Jackson Middle School with a salary of $6,115. When Pole Green Elementary opened in 2001, Wade received a second traffic guard assignment there.
Wade received $12,362 for his position at Stonewall Jackson that year on top of $7,947 for his second position at Pole Green.
In 2001, Wade was the first traffic guard asked to fill two traffic guard job assignments. There are now multiple situations where a traffic guard works more than one assignment.
According to Wilson, school policy in 2001 dictated that Wade be paid based on assignment, not on an hourly basis. Since 2001, policy has switched from compensating guards by assignment to paying them hourly. However, according to Wilson, the school division never adjusted Wade’s salary to match current practice.
Since 2001, Wade’s compensation “has increased by the same percentages as other employees across the school division who meet job expectations,” Wilson said.
Reached Tuesday, Wade had no real statement to make regarding the ordeal, deferring instead to Wilson’s statement, and adding the information “should have been out years ago.”
“I was hired to work by the job, not by the hour,” he said. “I think [Wilson] did a good job putting it together.”
In his statement of economic interests filed in January, Wade disclosed his employment with the school system, but not his salary.
“As you are well aware, I have been employed by Hanover County Public Schools, on a part time basis…for thirty years before I was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1992,” Wade notes.
In the memorandum to Cecil R. Harris Jr., county administrator, Wade says that after winning his seat on the board he consulted with the then-commonwealth’s attorney, Ed Vaughn, who determined there was no conflict of interest arising from Wade’s employment with the schools while serving as an elected official.
Wade further notes that “my employment with Hanover County Public Schools has always been a matter of public record.”
“I hereby affirm, for the record, that I continue to be a part time employee of Hanover County Public Schools, that as an employee I am a member of a group comprised of over 2,000 employees who are similarly affected by transactions involving Hanover County Public Schools and that I am able to participate in transactions involving Hanover County Public Schools fairly, objectively and in the public interest,” Wade writes.