There is change afoot in Prince George’s County. Washington, DC’s loss is the county’s gain by way of one Nicholas A. Majett. Mr. Majett has jumped DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s sinking ship to work in a “high level” post in PGCo’s administration. Not to be outdone, the Prince George’s County School System’s HR department called almost everyone in and told them they have to reapply to their publicly posted positions. The reorganization, the 3rd one in seven years, is expected to be complete by July 1st. The move is being called cowardly by some, long overdue by others.
Washington Post reported, “Nicholas A. Majett [is] director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which handles a variety of permitting and licensing functions. Majett said Tuesday he will assume a “high-level” post for Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III in early May. His departure was first reported Monday by Washington City Paper. “I think I can go to Prince George’s County and make a difference there like I did in the District,” Majett said. “I don’t think I can do much more in D.C. We’ve automated a lot things, the culture has changed, permits are issued faster, licenses are easier to get. I’m not leaving anything undone.” The move to Prince George’s has been in the works for months, Majett said, and had nothing to do with Gray’s loss in the Democratic primary last week. “That wasn’t one iota of a factor,” he said.
Like me, Nicholas A. Majett is a native Washingtonian and Howard University graduate; he holds a bachelor of science and law degree. In 2006 Mr. Majett became the deputy director of DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and served until he was appointed as director in 2010; he was unanimously confirmed by the Council of the District of Columbia in 2011. Majett is also a member of the Boards of Directors for the Washington, DC Economic Partnership, the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task Force and “Joseph’s House,” a DC nonprofit organization.
In response to the audit by Maryland’s Office of Legislative Audits of the Prince George’s County’s School System (See POST HERE), heads are rolling!! OH-EM-GEE. Ovetta Wiggins has the major news:
Several dozen people who work for the Prince George’s County schools’ human resources department were recently called into a meeting and told that their jobs were no longer their jobs. No one was fired, at least not yet. As part of a major reorganization, 64 of the department’s 72 employees were told that they had to reapply for their positions, schools officials said. Some will have new job descriptions, others will need new qualifications, and all the jobs are open to candidates inside and outside the school system. The major shake-up at the school system’s central office is the first significant move from schools chief Kevin M. Maxwell, who took the reins in August.
Max Pugh, a school system spokesman, said that Maxwell’s decision to revamp the division was a response to a recent state legislative audit, a strategic plan survey and a transition report, all of which highlighted alarming deficiencies in human resources. “Overall findings from all three sources indicate negative customer service ratings, ineffective employment functions and consistent reports of inefficient and inconsistent services,” Pugh said. As a result, “executive staff will be reorganizing the Division of Human Resources to ensure the structure reflects the current needs of the school system and that staff with a high-level skill set is in place to support both internal and external stakeholders.” The Office of Legislative Audits released an audit in February that found weak financial controls and insufficient oversight, lapses that resulted in $1 million in overpayments to employees.
The report said that school system officials paid some contract employees for days they did not work, processed duplicate payments, paid some employees who were on unpaid leave, improperly calculated leave payouts to terminated employees and inaccurately recorded employee separation dates. County Board of Education member Verjeana M. Jacobs (District 5) said the board was not aware of Maxwell’s plans or the purpose behind the reorganization. She said she was concerned that employees be treated with dignity and respect. “We want the system to be effective and efficient,” Jacobs said. “But you should be able to make a case for why it is needed. When you are clear about that case, you need to make it.” [From PGC Blog: A case was made with the audit.]
Board members have received e-mails from employees who have raised questions about publicly posting their positions for hire and ensuring fairness in the interview process. Doris Reed, president of the principals union, which represents about 20 human resources employees, said the reorganization does not violate the union’s contract and “has been in the wind” for a few months. Reed said human resources has gone through several reorganizations during the past decade. But, she said, “It seems to have made it worse.” Reed said that unlike in past reorganizations, the administration did notify union leaders about its plans and how it will proceed. “We will be monitoring to make sure it’s done fairly,” she said.
Pugh said that the positions will be posted on a “rolling basis’.