The superintendent of the Hampstead and Timberlane School Districts is suing the SAU, alleging they failed to pay him appropriately for overtime hours.
Dr. Earl Metzler is one of the highest paid superintendents in the state, and an unusual policy at SAU 55 allows him to bill the SAU for comp time accrued while working on non-scheduled workdays.
The practice of allowing exempt, salaried employees to earn compensatory time for working on weekends is unusual for school districts. In his lawsuit, Metzler alleges this practice is decades-old, and that the SAU is required to pay him one-and-a-half times his normal rate when he seeks payment for unused comp time.
According to SAU records, Metzler billed the SAU this year for comp time he had accumulated over several years. The comp time payment was over $90,000, on top of the $171,285 he made in annual salary and bonuses.
That totals $263,649, more than twice the median annual salary for superintendents in the 2018-2019 school year.
The payments surprised some SAU 55 board members this summer; after paying Metzler a straight hourly rate for his comp time, the board ended the policy that had allowed comp time payments for exempt employees.
The school board has until December 15 to respond to Metzler’s lawsuit.
Neither Metzler nor his attorney was available for comment.