Erica L. Green
11:57 AM EST, December 9, 2012
This weekend, The Sun ran a story that looked at how the hiring and tenure of a temporary employee--who faces sexual abuse charges and was found to have misrepresented himself and his credentials--aligned with the district's temporary employee policies.
The Sun has been reporting on the story of Shawn Nowlin, who officials say posed in a series of capacities at Hazelwood Elementary/Middle School, including the school's therapist, since Sept. 2011. You can find that coverage here.
Last week, school officials pointed The Sun to a school board policy that took effect in 2001, as well as a reference guide drawn up for employees this year, after they said that the guidelines weren't "crystal clear" about whose responsibility it was to vet temporary employees.
Upon reviewing the policy, there were certain parts that appeared to be crystal clear--and contradicted details that school officials have provided about Nowlin's employment.
But, on Friday, school officials did not respond to The Sun's repeated requests for comment or clarification about the policies, and how they were or were not applied to Nowlin.
Spokesman Michael Sarbanes, however, did speak to my colleague Jean Marbella to reinforce just how much the system still didn't know about Nowlin's tenure in city schools. You can read her column, printed Sunday, here.
The system also did not respond to an inquiry asking if they were aware that Nowlin was listed as a "Director of Community Affairs and acting Guidance Counselor" on an official "School Performance Plan" designed for Hazelwood in the 2011-2012 school year.
The 94-page-plan which has the system's official masthead and name of the mayor, the CEO, and school board president, can be viewed here, (page 56), and was published by the system.
School officials said earlier this week that while they do criminal background checks, it was primarily school principals' responsibility to vet the full application of temporary employees.
But, according to the two policies, the system's human capital office is responsible for application vetting. And the guidelines send a strong warning that an employee can't start working until they get the official green light from central headquarters.
Additionally, The Sun found that other parts of the policies appear to not align with the apparent employment practice for Nowlin's hiring and tenure. For instance, policies state that temporary employees' status should not extend beyond 90 days, though he was hired to oversee "partnership coordination" in September 2011, a position he stayed in through August 2012. According to the system's published policies, the job titles under his "Temporary Professional II" umbrella title were also primarily classroom positions.
There were exceptions outlined in the rule, but based on the "partnership coordination" position school officials said Nowlin had, none applied. And given that there was no response from the system, there was no way of knowing whether he fell into any of those exceptions at the time.
Officials did, however, send along Friday Nowlin's earnings, which show that he was paid $25,145 as a temp. And he earned $17,796 of a $24,900 contract in just three months. The contract, which can be viewed here, was to end in June 2013.
The system also responded late Friday to decline turning over Nowlin's resume, calling it part of his personnel file, though the district identified him as a contractor.
So far, we have confirmed that he never attended or graduated from three universities he claimed to have attended. We have also confirmed through online state databases, that he is not a licensed social worker or therapist in Maryland.
The system said late Monday, that it would answer the unanswered questions from Friday--as well as new ones that have been raised since-- later this week.
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