Education

Superintendent up for review: Beaufort County school board will evaluate Jeff Moss in coming weeks

Superintendent Jeff Moss and school district attorney Drew Davis listen during a recent meeting of the Beaufort County School District board.
Superintendent Jeff Moss and school district attorney Drew Davis listen during a recent meeting of the Beaufort County School District board. dearley@islandpacket.com

Beaufort County Board of Education members will determine in the coming weeks whether superintendent Jeff Moss has acted ethically during the past year as part of his annual review.

Thursday, the school board's human resources committee discussed, but did not vote on, an evaluation by which to judge his annual performance.

For some of the 11 board members, filling out the review will be the first time they have publicly stated whether they believe superintendent behaved appropriately in light of his wife's short-lived employment with the school district in September. Darlene Moss was hired for as the district's director of innovation job, a $90,000 district post, around the time that her husband altered the district's nepotism policy. After The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette reported on the hiring, many community members were outraged and Darlene Moss resigned.

Former chairman Bill Evans resigned from the board early this month after board member JoAnn Orischak called for him to step down from his leadership position, citing problems with information he sent to the S.C. Ethics Commission about the rule change.

Among the proposed sections of the evaluation is a question of whether the superintendent "model(s) professional, moral and ethical standards as well as personal integrity in all interactions, assuming responsibility for personal actions and responding appropriately to actions of others."

For each section of the evaluation, each board member will rate Moss as either exceptional, proficient or in need of improvement. The committee also decided Thursday to continue the practice of allowing members to choose not to answer any question.

After each member fills out the evaluation, the full board will discuss the feedback and create one evaluation of Moss. His contract was extended last year to 2020, just one year after he became superintendent on a 5-year-contract.

But Jeff Moss' employment is not contingent on a positive evaluation. It was not clear Thursday what happens if he gets a negative review.

If the board were to terminate his employment without just cause, it would be required to pay him his annual salary of $220,000, according to his contract. That action would require a vote of seven members of the board.

The board also has the authority to fire the superintendent for just cause, which is defined as "conduct which is seriously prejudicial to the District or upon conduct which constitutes neglect of duty, incompetence, or unprofessional conduct." But first, the board must attempt to reach an agreement with the superintendent to terminate his employment, according to the contract.

Contributions to Moss' annuity are meant to be contingent on a satisfactory performance evaluation, his contract states. However, that evaluation is supposed to be completed by Oct. 20, and the contribution made on or before Oct. 31.

This year, because the evaluation is pending, the contribution of 15 percent of his annual salary is automatically due, according to Moss.

It's not yet clear when the evaluation will take place, said human resources committee co-chair Joseph Dunkle on Thursday.

Moss has waived the contractual requirement that the board complete his evaluation by Nov. 1.

The board will vote Tuesday to continue considering his evaluation instrument at its Nov. 6 and 7 work session.

Jeff Moss' contract of employment with the Beaufort County School District

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

Related content:

  Comments