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BOE director threatens to sue Guilford County

Guilford County Board of Elections Director George Gilbert is threatening to sue the county, the Rhino’s Scott Yost reports:

Gilbert has acquired the services of Greensboro attorney Seth Cohen, of Smith, James, Rowlett & Cohen, who has notified the county that his client, Gilbert, hasn’t been compensated fairly by the county for years, and the letter requests that Guilford County provide Gilbert with a raise retroactive for three years.

Cohen’s letter, which was hand-delivered to the county on Thursday, Dec. 20, requests that Guilford County pay Gilbert a lump sum of $42,103, which, the letter states, Gilbert considers a “reasonable resolution to this unfortunate problem.” That sum, according to the letter, is the total of a cash settlement of $35,298 in suggested back pay combined with adjustments to Gilbert’s 401(k) plan and related benefits he would have been entitled to if his salary had been at that level for the last three years.

Gilbert, who has announced that he’s retiring on March 1, currently makes $99,319 a year as the county’s elections director.

The irony here is Gilbert was one of 15 county department heads who received a raise following a secret vote by the previous Board of Commissioners. The justification for the raises, the board was told, was fear that employees would file equitable-pay lawsuits. The new Republican-majority board took up the issue in December, but voted to uphold the raises. As a result, Gilbert received a $1,947 raise.

But Gilbert’s attorney says this possible suit has nothing to do with that. —Gilbert, he claims, has not been compensated fairly compared to BOE directors in similar counties in a manner required by state law.

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