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 Mecklenburg Ex-director got raise despite reassignment

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March Mellow

Join date : 2009-04-26
Posts : 209
Location : Char-Meck

PostSubject: Mecklenburg Ex-director got raise despite reassignment   Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:33 pm

Ex-director got raise despite reassignment
Records show Jacobsen's perks include $4,000 yearly bonus. Now at UNCC, he says it's in his original deal.
By Fred Clasen-Kelly
Posted: Saturday, Jun. 20, 2009

Richard "Jake" Jacobsen Jr., Director of Mecklenburg County Social Services, poses in his office among the more than 100 teddy bears he has collected and received as gifts over the 10 years he has worked in Charlotte. GAYLE SHOMER Doing an interview with Jake Jacobsen, head of Mecklenburg DSS, in the wake of the filing of a lawsuit by two of his former aides accusing him of being too forgetful and erratic to do his job in the wake of a stroke. Just needing a portrait type photo of him, plus a mug for the file (he says current mug we have is old)

To purchase this photo | Browse our store
Former Mecklenburg County DSS Director Richard “Jake” Jacobsen received a $4,000-a-year merit raise after questions surfaced about his performance and he was reassigned, records show.

Documents released by the county Friday about Jacobsen's compensation provide new details about a controversial 2007 arrangement that allows him to stay on the county's payroll although he now officially works for UNC Charlotte's Institute for Social Capital. The Observer obtained the information through an open records request.

Jacobsen's pay recently drew scrutiny as the county tried to eliminate a $78.9million deficit in next year's budget. County officials decided to allow him to continue to receive the county's eighth-highest salary of $167,936.

In addition to his salary, the county provides Jacobsen a 1999 Chevrolet Blazer, a cell phone, and a county computer and printer.

This week, commissioners passed a 2009-10 budget that includes cuts in county services, layoffs for hundreds of educators and the closing of libraries on Sundays.

Commissioners voted unanimously in September 2007 to reassign Jacobsen from the Department of Social Services to UNC Charlotte, where he is an executive-in-residence.

The vote came after two former employees filed a lawsuit against the county alleging that they were fired after they complained that Jacobsen's performance had suffered following a stroke.

At the time, County Manager Harry Jones said Jacobsen's new job wouldn't be as demanding. Jones also said the county decided to keep Jacobsen's salary the same so it wouldn't affect his retirement.

Jacobsen, who had been director since 1994, earned $163,907 under the agreement. Officials said that since he served as DSS director for four months afterward, he received a merit increase.

On Friday, Jacobsen defended the compensation, saying “it was in my original contract. I agreed to come out here (to UNCC) as long as I didn't lose anything.”

Since January 2008, the county has paid more than $6,700 in maintenance for his vehicle, county General Manager Michelle Lancaster-Sandlin said in a written statement. Taxpayers also paid nearly $1,500 to fuel the vehicle during that time, documents show.

Internal Revenue Service rules require Jacobsen to pay the county $31.23 in commute mileage every two-week pay period, Lancaster-Sandlin said.

The county has spent $851 paying monthly cell phone bills for Jacobsen from January 2008 through May of this year, documents show.

Jacobsen will remain on the public payroll until he retires in February 2010. Until that time, he will work for the Institute for Social Capital.

Jacobsen's job is to conduct research on child welfare, lecture classes and organize symposiums for the Institute.

Some county officials have said his research would give the county value for its money by identifying gaps in the social service system.

But Friday, Jacobsen said he is unsure his research on children of former welfare recipients will be complete before he retires in February.

Jacobsen said officials must find a professional researcher to analyze the information because he cannot “crunch the data.”

Commissioners have said they should not rescind the agreement with Jacobsen since it expires relatively soon. However, some officials have voiced displeasure.

“The county was supposed to get some benefit,” commissioner Neil Cooksey said. “To my mind, I have not gotten a straight answer about what the benefit is.”

Jones recommended that commissioners agree to reassign Jacobsen to the Institute for Social Capital. Jones did not return calls seeking comment.

Previously, he has said the recommendation was not connected to the suit. Jones has said he was happy with Jacobsen's work at DSS, but concerned for Jacobsen's physical health.

Jacobsen said his work has already paid off.

He said he has organized two symposiums, helped make connections between the college and local government and helped initiate discussions of a new academic program.

“It's not glamorous, but it's beneficial,” he said.

Jacobsen said commissioners should hold off making judgments about his work at UNC Charlotte. “Let's see what happens when I'm finished,” he said. “Let's see what's accomplished. If they are not satisfied, they don't have to do it again.”

Fred Clasen-Kelly: (704) 358-5027
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Join date : 2009-05-04
Posts : 151
Location : Pittsboro/Silk Hope
Age : 65

PostSubject: Re: Mecklenburg Ex-director got raise despite reassignment   Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:19 pm

That is sickening!

It just blows my mind! Why should taxpayer's pay for his 850.00 cell phone bill? How ridiculous! confused

Evil or Very Mad
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Join date : 2009-06-13
Posts : 47
Location : Charlotte

PostSubject: Re: Mecklenburg Ex-director got raise despite reassignment   Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:19 pm

Kind of makes you wonder what else is going on in these kind of contracts, since the state is about $4.5 billion in the hole. And for this guy to get that kind of money plus a county computer is insane. UNCC is part of the state system, and the county should not have to pay any of his expenses, including supplying his car and fuel. And that kind of money and perks to study child welfare and organize symposiums does exactly what for the county?
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March Mellow

Join date : 2009-04-26
Posts : 209
Location : Char-Meck

PostSubject: Re: Mecklenburg Ex-director got raise despite reassignment   Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:44 pm

Shocked Laughing
Very Happy I think I am going to call all of my former employers and demand they pay my cellphone bills, as well as giving me a raise and some of them seem to owe me years of back pay. What do you bet they ask who are you and it will be shortly followed by a click as they will be busy letting the authorities know that there is a real lunatic roaming America. Laughing
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