Superintendent’s Retirement To Cost Johnston Taxpayers $520,000

The News & Observer says the upcoming retirement of Johnston County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Croom will cost county taxpayers $520,000.

Dr. Croom will be retiring March 1st at the age of 50. He has been the superintendent for the past 7 years.

Ed-Croom-Image-LargegDr. Croom announced his retirement in October and said at the time his retirement was due to a change in the state retirement law.  The article, published Friday, said Dr. Croom received $256,602 in pension-eligible pay in 2014, the most recent year available.

When first hired as superintendent in 2009, the N&O reported Dr. Croom’s perks included $10,000 a year towards a annuity payment, $15,000 each year for a vehicle, plus additional reimbursement for out-of-county travel, $3,060 per year towards telephone expenses, full family medical and dental chosen by Dr. Croom, payment of up to 15 unused vacation days or compensatory time, and payment to the pension system and Social Security Administration.

In a 2011 contract those perks were removed, with the exception of the annuity and unused vacation pay. At the same time the school board increased his annual supplement from $20,000 to $64,750.  Two years later, the school board extended the benefits until 2018 plus added an additional benefit allowing an increase in compensation “to reflect the changes in the retirement law and amendments thereto as set out by the 2014 North Carolina General Assembly.”  The article quoted Tracey Peedin Jones, public information officer for Johnston County Schools, as saying the change led to a compensation payment of $25,000.

School Board Vice Chairman Dorothy Johnson of Clayton said the pension cost had not been discussed by the board.   She said she did not know his retirement would result in the county being responsible for a half million dollars of his pension, according to the News & Observer.