LAS VEGAS — Has one of the Clark County School District’s department honchos found a way to eat taxpayer cake in two separate states at the same time?
It appears so.
In Southern Nevada, for nearly 12 years, Bramby Tollen was the director of CCSD’s purchasing and warehouse department. Then this March, according to district officials, she was transferred to the CCSD human resources department as an “Administrator on Special Assignment” — while continuing to earn a base salary of $104,760 a year, plus $1,800 annually for longevity.
Tollen’s total pay and benefits for the 2013 calendar year were $140,663.82, according to CCSD information on Transparent Nevada.
However, as of June 13, Snohomish County, Washington, has had a new purchasing manager — also named Bramby Tollen.
CCSD officials confirmed to Nevada Journal last Friday and again Tuesday morning that Tollen remained a CCSD employee. That is, until Tuesday afternoon, when Kirsten Searer, the district’s chief of staff and external affairs confirmed CCSD had just received notice of Tollen’s resignation — effective August 29.
“We just received notice that she has resigned, effective August 29, 2014,” wrote Searer in an email update Tuesday afternoon.
In Washington state, Snohomish County Human Resources Director Bridget Clawson also confirmed that a “Bramby Tollen” is performing duties as the county purchasing manager.
However, Clawson, citing municipal regulations, said she was unable to confirm Tollen’s employment history with the Clark County School District
“I am not authorized to answer this question.” wrote Clawson in an email. “My actions are authorized under Snohomish County Code, and do not include verification of previous employment to a third party.”
In an email Tuesday morning, Searer told Nevada Journal that the district was “aware that Ms. Tollen is listed as an employee on another district’s website.” She also indicated that an investigation was under way, saying, “We cannot comment on pending investigations.”
Searer did not answer the publication’s inquiry as to whether Tollen was out of office and receiving paid sick leave, vacation time or some other CCSD compensation.
Last week, Searer was also unable to confirm or deny whether Tollen was on leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
“We can’t discuss the specifics of any employee’s FMLA status,” Searer wrote in an email last Thursday.
Under the 2013-2015 Negotiated Agreement between the Clark County School District and the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-technical Employees (CCASA), school district administrators can accumulate up to 85 days of vacation pay and unlimited sick days.
Stephen Augspurger, executive director of CCASA, says he hopes it is not the case that Tollen was out on sick leave while working somewhere else.
“If in fact she is out on sick leave,” said Augspurger, “and during the time she’s using sick leave [she] has sought and been awarded employment someplace else, then she is misusing our sick leave because her absence from work is no longer unavoidable.
“If she can go to work someplace else, she can go to work here.”
The contract, says Augspurger, is crystal clear that sick leave is used when an absence from work is unavoidable due to illness. CCASA, he said, does not condone any abuse of the sick leave provisions.
“We have an expectation as to all administrators,” said Augspurger, “that our administrators use sick leave appropriately. It is designed to fill in a void when there’s an immediate illness with an individual or with the family.”
Even after Tollen’s resignation, school district officials say they are unable to respond to Nevada Journal’s inquiries regarding Tollen’s leave status — and any salaries or benefit contributions which may have been paid to or on behalf of the former purchasing director since June.
“We cannot comment on personnel issues pertaining to employees and former employees,” said Searer in her most recent communication.
Multiple attempts to contact Bramby Tollen at Snohomish County went unanswered.