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Schools transportation director has resigned

November 07, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - About a month after a formal review began into the hiring of a Washington County Public Schools substitute bus assistant, the director of transportation has resigned.

Chris Carter, who was employed with the school system for about 12 years, resigned Oct. 31, according to spokeswoman Carol Mowen.

Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan declined to say why Carter resigned, citing personnel matters.

Carter could not be reached for comment Monday.

In September, school officials said they were reviewing the hiring process that led to Dana Burcker being offered a position as a substitute bus assistant for the school system. Burcker, 25, was employed from Sept. 14 to 24.

She has a criminal record dating to at least 2002 that includes felony and misdemeanor charges. Charges of theft and writing bad checks were dismissed in court, according to court documents.

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Officials did not say at the time why Burcker's employment with the school system ended.

Burcker's sister, Jeannie Thompson, was employed with the school system at the time Burcker was hired.

Burcker said Monday she was unsure if her sister was still employed with the school system and said she had no comment on Carter's resignation. When interviewed in September, Carter said he was not involved in the hiring process and would not be aware if one of his employees had a criminal record.

"With every crisis, there is always an opportunity," Morgan said Monday. "And with this opportunity, there is an opportunity to improve (transportation)."

She said officials are going to review the hiring process in that department and throughout the school system.

"We want to make sure the most qualified people are hired," Morgan said. "We want to remind staff about that."

She said, that when hiring a new transportation director, officials would like to find someone who is creative, experienced and able to help with the school system's bus driver shortage.

"We're trying to solve our bus driver situation," she said.

Additional pay, increased benefits and other incentives are being considered. She said officials want to entice people to work as bus drivers and also retain them.

Hours for five part-time positions were increased to make those positions eligible for benefits, and Morgan said that will be an incentive for some.

Boyd Michael, assistant superintendent for school operations, said there is a daily shortage of 12 to 15 bus drivers because of sickness and other issues.

Morgan said she wants the new director to be creative in finding ways to transport students to the county's magnet programs.

According to a posting on the Washington County Public Schools Web site, the Director of Transportation will be paid a salary of $76,251 to $108,713. The position requires three years of professional experience in public transportation or a related field or successful management experience in a large public sector organization.

One of the job's performance responsibilities is to "recommend candidates for employment using a fair, equitable process based on Washington County Public Schools' policy."

The job posting also states that the transportation director will interview, select, train and supervise all departmental employees, including bus assistants.

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