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Henrico’s superintendent is still collecting paychecks

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — Two months after Henrico Schools Superintendent Pat Russo was placed on leave from the school board, he is still collecting his paychecks which have so far totaled close to $40,000.

Russo was placed on paid leave in early August following the resignation of former school board member Diana Winston and an investigation was launched into Russo’s relationship with Winston and her husband Joe.

Specifics regarding the incident and sequence of events have yet to be clarified by the school board.

While Russo and the School Board again refused to comment on the matter Tuesday, parents appeared frustrated.

“It is not right he shouldn’t be sitting home doing nothing, getting paid $40,000,” Pam Juliano, a Henrico mom, said.

“That seems a little bit insulting I think for teachers,” Kate Kirkpatrick, a Henrico parent, added.

According to Henrico records, Russo was paid, before taxes, $19, 276 on August 30 and again on September 30.

On October 30, he is expected to get the same paycheck again that includes health benefits, car insurance, and a stipend for an official car.

The reason Russo is still getting paid despite not going to work or attending meetings is because he was placed on paid leave and NOT terminated.

But CBS 6 found out Tuesday that even if the school board terminates Russo in the near future, they still may be liable for his $216,917 a year base salary until 2015.

Why?

As University of Richmond contract law professor Jim Gibson points out it’s because Russo’s contract with Henrico requires just cause for termination.

“Right now, according to the contract, he is still working for the county,” Gibson said while noting that his agreement mentions nothing regarding paid leave.

“He can be terminated without justification but if they terminate him without cause they would still be responsible for his compensation,” Gibson said.

Gibson said that clauses like the one Russo has in his agreement is common among superintendents in Virginia.

Deputy Superintendent Patrick C. Kinlaw, who receives a salary of $163,727, has fulfilled Russo’s duties in his absence and according to the School system has not received an increase in pay.

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