ONLY ON 3 INVESTIGATION: New Hanover Co. School superintendent exposes lack of in-house dating rules

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Submitted: Wed, 10/30/2013 - 3:59am
Updated: Wed, 10/30/2013 - 12:24pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Tonight in an ONLY ON 3 investigation, we uncover a relationship between the superintendent of New Hanover County Schools and an employee he directly supervised; a relationship that may be impacting district policy.

Sources close to the situation confirm a relationship between Dr. Tim Markley and his former administrative assistant Stephanie Baltezegar.

School district leaders will not confirm the relationship, but the policy committee has been working to create a brand new policy for fraternization between employees for months.

For the past ten years, Baltezegar has been the administrative assistant to the superintendent; most recently for Markley, who started three years ago. Two months ago though, she was transferred to the finance department and then more recently to human resource just weeks ago. The district will not say why, saying it’s a personnel issue.

“I can’t speak to anything about personnel,” school board members Jeannette Nichols told us at a recent meeting. “That is something you can speak with the superintendent about if you choose.”

So we asked Markley at a recent school board meeting if he was having a relationship with Baltezegar.

“We are really not going to have a personnel discussion, but thank you,” Markley said.

In August the school board asked Wayne Bullard, the district’s attorney, to create a new policy outlining a new fraternization policy.

“We are just looking at all areas to make sure we have something in place so that everyone understands and follows,” Nichols said.

The first draft of the policy, which has yet to be approved by the board, would define fraternization as a situation when two employees are in a supervisory/subordinate relationship and also in a personal relationship at the same time. The policy defines that relationship as getting engaged or married, living together, or entering into a romantic or sexual relationship or an affair. It would allow the relationship to continue if it’s reported and if one of the employees accepts a voluntary transfer to another position that is not being supervised by the other in the relationship.

Baltezegar started working for the district in 1992 as a finance clerk. Personnel records show she worked her way up over the years, going from $15,000 a year to $35,000 her first year as administrative assistant in 2002, to almost $70,000 last year working for Markley. In July she was also given what the district calls “outside experience credit,” which is a pay increase for something the employee did before working for the school system. According to a school spokeswoman, 185 employees also received the same credit. The district refuses to say what Baltezegar’s outside experience credit was, but it knocked her salary from about $69,000 to about $75,000; some extra 500 dollars a month.

In September, the district also promoted Dr. Rick Holliday to deputy superintendent. It’s the first time the district has had someone in that position in a decade. In a news release announcing the promotion, absolutely no reason was given as to why the the move was made.

In the meantime, the School Board’s Policy Committee is still hammering out details on its new relationship rules. School board chair Don Hayes says the change has nothing to do with a relationship between Markley and Baltezegar. Other school board members tell us the change is designed to help the district’s policy mirror state policy, especially because it deals with relationships between principals and teachers, for example, in which case potential raises and contracts could be affected.

The Policy Committee meets next week. No word yet if it will discuss the new dating rules.

WWAY tried multiple times to talk to Markley and Baltezegar about this story. They have so far not returned our calls.


  • tke1 says:

    While, personally, I think it is a bad practice to have an intimate relationship with any co-worker that you have to supervise, as long as there is no written policy against it, and no one can present specific, factual evidence of partiality, there is no problem.
    My uncle lived to be 90 years old, smoked 3 packs a day, drank at least a fifth a day, dipped snuff and caroused to excess. His secret to a long happy life: HE ALWAYS WOULD MIND HIS OWN BUSINESS.

  • Justataxpayer says:

    Those of you who say married or single, it’s their business are partially correct. But the real issue is that the highest ranking supervisor in the central officer is dating someone he’s supposed to be supervising. It’s a conflict of interest and creates the potential for favoritism of one employee at the expense of others. It also does speak to both persons’ characters if they didn’t come forward once they acknowledged to themselves that they were in a relationship. Employees in this kind of situation can still behave in an above-board way if they give management, or in this case the board of education, the opportunity to put in some safeguards to make sure that a supervisor is not making recommendations about raises or promotions for someone he’s dating. I’m not a “disgruntled employee.” Never worked for them. I’m just a taxpayer and it interests me if two people on the public’s payroll are putting their personal interests ahead of their public duties.

  • John Doe Principal says:

    To “Not Quite”

    You could not have put this any better about our state. I am proud to represent a nearby school as an principal in a different district. I am disgusted that the hard-working and dedicated teachers and para-professionals, as well fellow school leaders are underpaid and underappreciated by the leaders of this state. It is a shame that this negative publicity may lead to further breaking down of what used to give us reasons to be proud of our public schools. I also am sorry that bad choices of certain leaders may sour the taste of all school leaders.

  • Tammy says:

    I can not believe these people make that much money,now we know where the tax payers dollars go,the teachers are being screwed royally,I know hearing how much these people make really make our hard working teacher happy, teachers that have to have students as well as their own money to bring supplies all during the year,this is pure sicken if I was a teacher especially one with experience,I would be striking in a skinny minute ,let these idiots go teach the class,they are being paid enough,sitting behind a desk making rules and screwing around,all the teachers losing jobs because of money and the seat warmers making all this money,with what one of them make would be 3 teacher jobs ,that is the differences in the pay ,that is crazy.

  • Turkeygirl says:

    75,000? I know employees of the school system
    with master’s degrees required for their employment
    who don’t earn this much. Way to put students first!

  • hope says:

    Is it really appropriate to put the superintendent’s girlfriend in HR? Where she can also feed him info about Todd Finn’s mismanagement of NHHS> I don’t think so. Goodbye current School Board members.

  • JP says:

    The issue is not moral, but professional and financial. This woman went from making $35,000 a year to over $70,000 while under the supervision of someone with whom she was in a relationship. With seemingly no explanation. That’s TAXPAYER money. It is absolutely newsworthy and should be investigated further.

  • Jeanna says:

    Might want to recheck your sources. Stephanie Baltezegar and Markley were both married at the time the affair started. The affair is the reason for the demise of both their marriages. I know this first hand as the affair has affected me personally

  • Whoopsy says:

    Not surprised at all the schools has a little slap and tickle. Everyone knows the city and county leadership has a problem staying verticle with staff. They switch partners more than a marathon square dance contest.

  • amazed1 says:

    Wow….Suspicions of relationship with her boss, and a completely inappropriate salary and insane raises while she is working for him. Why has it taken this long to be discovered and put two and two together. Here we are cutting raises for teachers and doing away with tenure but she continues to receive raises as his “assistant”? Absolutely outraged by this and hope that there is reprecussions from this that affect those involved not the innocent teachers or employees of the county. I fail to understand how her pay increases were approved. There has to be more of a checks and balances system in place. More people had to approve her salary then just Markley.

  • 20now40 says:

    I cannot believe she makes $75,000 a year. Check the salary schedule…a national board certified teacher with a PhD and 36 years of experience makes $68.000. Just another kick in the teeth. Thanks a lot.

  • Randy says:

    The community has known about this affair for a long time WWAY finally exposed it– Thanks WWAY . Now, dig a little deeper and uncover the rest of this story .

  • Randy says:

    They are both still married, not legally divorced from their spouses. Check the public records.

  • Former Teacher says:

    This is not news to people who work for the county. We have known this for quite some time and have sent NUMEROUS messages and placed NUMEROUS phone calls to various media organizations and, now, it is finally being reported by WWAY. The problem with this affair is that 1. The raises she has received are unethical and PLEASE compare her salary to a teacher’s salary – INSANE!! 2. She worked DIRECTLY under Markley – complete conflict of interest (obviously, look at her salary)! 3. The board has done nothing about it, but avoid it (initially) and then to try and cover it up with this new/revised policy.

    He should NOT be employed as the superintendent by the taxpayers any longer! He not only behaved in an inappropriate manner with one of his subordinates, but he has also been ignoring and/or not caring to take action on the concerns of the teachers at NHHS and the deteriorating working conditions over there. Nothing has been done about the insane number of employees who have either retired, transferred (willingly or unwillingly), or just quit from NHHS because of the lack of quality leadership. If he is too busy with his affairs to do his duty as a superintendent and look into the concerns of the majority of teachers at NHHS or any other school, then he should be let go from his position.

    The media outlets need to stop ignoring all the phone calls and messages they have received about Finn and NHHS and look into this problem as well.

  • Disgusted taxpayer says:

    The whole lot of them should be terminated. 75K for a glorified secretary when we have highly educated teachers and administrators who don’t make anywhere near that. She should have to return any increase in pay she received while under Markley’s supervision.

    And he was married, I met his wife last year.

  • matchgirl says:

    Pardon me but check your math. Teachers work 10 months with more and more demands on their time. If the length of the school day is not being tinkered with, the children just have to stay at school longer for tutoring or because they are riding a shared bus, as in Brunswick County, and the buses are late because of testing or the fire alarm was pulled or their is an accident between the 2 schools. A school day that has been set at 8:00 – 2:45 or 3:00 is a day with a working lunch, no assistants, and at most schools limited volunteer or parental involvement. While I was working, the school day was lengthened by 30 to 45 minutes. Then, there is the required ballgame duty, PTA, report card nights and open houses, haunted houses, Fall festivals, choir performances and the list goes on. Don’t forget the classes required by the system to maintain certification which are usually held after school. Then there are lessons to prepare, tests to grade, and it all starts over at 7:30 the next morning. Those secretaries are at home with their families when the day ends at 5:00 pm or 4:00 pm on the summer schedule. The teachers are still going hard at it 3 out of any 5 given days. The administrative assistants should be ashamed of themselves for robbing the system! I am infuriated and I don’t know any of them personally. This is not personal. It is the principle of it.

  • Guest1851658 says:

    A teacher only works 9 months out of the year.

  • Rachel says:

    Thank you!!! It is illegal to strike in NC. If I could sell my house, I would move to a state where educators were respected, had union representation, and make a living. You don’t become an educator to be rich, but I would like to be able to take my child to Disney, once. Or maybe buy myself a new pair of shoes. It is rediculous!

  • Randy says:

    When I voted last year for School Board members, I thought I voted for people who would be strong leaders and uphold the highest moral expectations for Adm. , teachers, and staff . Obviously I made a mistake, but I won’t make it again. How can an affair with a subordinate be ignored to the extent the Bd. hasn’t fired Markley? Policy or no policy on dating the Bd. doesn’t need a policy to fire a Supt. for immoral/ disreputable behavior. Show some leadership and fire Markley.

  • big al the terp says:

    As if teacher’s did not have enough reason to walk out on November 4th. I worked NHCS for five years. It is a joke. To let the school system operate in the current state is criminal. Negligent are the parents to just drop their kid into that environment of sorely used and abused teachers.

  • No longer living in NHC says:

    I no longer live in New Hanover County, but these type of things have gone on since I first worked there many years ago. There must be a curse placed on the office of superintendent in New Hanover County. That is all I can say. I do not know the new super, but I assumed that the woman in question was an upstanding lady based on my knowledge of her daughter.

  • httr says:

    I don’t believe a darn WORD of WWAY’s reports. They NEVER get the fact correct and completely write a story to make it newsworthy… they should be ashamed of themselves! they are as bad as the national inquirer. Note to the reporters you do a HORRIBLE job of fact checking. You need to check, recheck, AND speak to the people you choose to blast in the news. One day you will get nabbed for all the stories you embellish. Shame on you……

  • Mike newsome says:

    I knew this was going on for a long time and yes they were both married. I believe Tim Markley has been involved in something like this before. Check his job history. Stephanie Baltzegar and Markley are trying to cover this up along with the school board. They should be let go because we as tax payers deserve better,

  • What'sTheRealDeal? says:

    The loyalty of commenting staff is great, but get real people. County tax records show both still own homes with their respective spouses. So it’s likely that any separation was fairly recent. Property hasn’t even been formally severed yet.

  • Tammy says:

    You either know one of the accused or you are one of the accused,the reporter did go to the man and he refused to comment,everybody there refused to comment,seems to me the tax payers paying the salaries ,any one reporter or not should be able to ask anything they want.I think it is a shame you all make more than the teachers,double and triple in some cases.That is fraud in my book.The whole bunch of you should be a shamed.and then people wonder why that occupation is failing ,All I can say is God Bless you all cause your all going to “””.

  • Stephanie says:

    Somebody had to approve her raises. She didnt give them to herself, she should not have to return anything. All raises go through an approval process. Markley wasnt the only one to agree to it. Sounds like the whole system is screwed up.

  • Get with it says:

    You need to wake up and listen to what this report is about. Who can respect this man as a leader? What a sad state of affairs for the honest and hardworking people of this school system.

  • ONLY_9_months says:

    teachers are considered 10 month employees. However, that’s not really the point. First, have you met a teacher? To say they “only work” 9 months out of the year is pretty ludicrous. Secondly, the point is that an administrative assistant makes far more than the vast majority of teachers in the state. A teacher with a PhD, National Board Certification and 36 years of experience is as far as a teacher could get on the state salary schedule for teachers and it is still less than this administrative assistant. And by the way, a teacher would have to work a lot more than “only” 9 months out of the year to get to that point.

  • stephanie says:

    A teacher works only 9 months? What turnip truck did you fall off? Teachers are paid for working 10 months, but ask any teacher if they work on school work during the summer. I guarantee it will be yes!

  • Radar says:

    The NHC school board has been in ” cover up ” mode for several months by establishing policies concerning relationships. Only executives in the public and private sector receive a 100 percent pay raise , NOT a secretary! This is where the true problem starts. The school board , probably with the persuasion of the superintendent , signed off on a 100 percent pay raise. This is irresponsible and the secretary’s worth is not greater than that of other school employees struggling in a poor economy. Talk about a morale killer. NHC school board ,you have it and you need to do some explaining or each and everyone of you need to be thrown out of office.

    Now , let’s talk about character and integrity. This superintendent and any cohorts involved are very poor role models and are held to a higher standard because they voluntary chose public office. Time to clean house and let your voices be heard by emailing board members and attending the next board meeting. Hopefully, they will not crawl under their tables and declare it a personnel matter because there will be serious repercussions from the voters once informed.

  • Carol Kramer says:

    Tim Markley is unfit for the position of New Hanover County School Superintendent. His cozy relationship with a subordinate is the last straw. I realized that his motives in public education were suspect when I read a letter that he co-signed (and is located on the NHCS website):

    An Open Letter from Superintendents on New Education Legislation

    “Pre-kindergarten programs have been recognized by educational researchers, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as providing a great return on investment. The chamber said in a 2010 report that investment in early childhood education – for children from birth to age five – yields very high returns, including increased earnings and decreased use of social services. “Achieving a world-class education system and creating a highly-skilled workforce begins with high-quality early learning opportunities,” the report said.

    We need to pay close attention to the people who are charged with the care and oversight and education of OUR children. Their motives are becoming suspect. The educational community is becoming filled with people who think that our children should be in the possession of the state AT BIRTH. This is chapter 2 of the Communist Manifesto. If you’re paying attention, you’ll see that people occupying the senior levels of our education system are forging links with the Chamber of Commerce, who regard children as their workers and NOT as our children.
    It’s very creepy to think of a newborn child in terms of “return on investment.” Makes you want to hold them close. Very close.

  • Rachel says:

    A kick in the stomach. North Carolina does not value teachers, therefore DOES NOT VALUE STUDENTS. With one of the lowest pay scales in the country, most of us find it difficult to pay all of our bills. This is disgusting. THEY should be fired immeadeately. SHAME on DR. Markley, NHC, and our state.

  • What'sTheRealDeal? says:

    So a boss and his secretary leave their family homes, move into the same apartment complex (although separate units), it’s all kept hush-hush. Yet thier loyal minions still claim with straight faces that neither was attached when this began?!?!?

  • county teacher says:

    As a NHCS veteran teacher with 22 years experience, my annual salary is $46,840.

    An annual salary of $75,000 equals $6250 per month gross.

    Even if Ms. B worked 10 months rather than 12, her salary would instead be $62,500.

    That’s $15,660 more than I make.

  • Lynn Shoemaker says:

    You are absolutely correct! WWAY did get a fact wrong. There ARE state statutes and policies as well as administrative codes that govern inappropriate relationships with a subordinate, and the elected Board of Education (all Republican) has willfully ignored every one of them.

  • Parent taxpayer says:

    Absolutely. Finn is running a circus at NHHS and nobody wants to know about it. Finn and Markley are two of a kind–they stick together.

  • Common Sense says:

    And now we know why this teacher calls herself / himself a former teacher. She’s / He’s been out of that school for apparently five months. Still bashing the school. Birds of a feather. Complainers stick together. Former, for a reason. Good riddance, Former Teacher.

  • Guest123 says:

    All right boys and girls , here is a recap of all the recent slime balls to serve our community….Bill ” Pretty Boy” Saffo, Dr. Tim Markley , Brian Berger, Billy Williams , Michael Krause ( Aka. Otis Campbell , the town drunk ) , ABC board and the school board. Time to start paying attention to all the buffoons we hand the reigns of power to.

  • dizzy says:

    And what is your salary?

  • FedUp says:

    Back off your Finn attacks. His detractors tried that in the media and are still not happy that he is holding teachers to a high standard. He is making New Hanover the school of choice in New Hanover County. It’s not the status quo you were used to. Mediocrity is over with. Your name of “Former Teacher” shows you must have not made the cut and is probably a good thing for the students of our county. If he is so bad, why are teachers from his former high school moving to NHC to teach under him? Also can you explain how the test scores and graduation rates at New Hanover are all up greatly if Finn is so bad?

  • Randy says:

    Evidently, the current School Board doesn’t realize or they are hiding behind a policy about dating subordinates. I believe he has a morality clause in his contract at the very least a cause about disreputable conduct . And, this is disreputable conduct, having a romantic affair with a subordinate. I am so very disappointed with this School Board, surely 4 of them can see this is absolutely wrong. And, paying Stephanie 75K is slapping all of our educators who have 4 plus years of college in the face.

  • NHHS parent says:

    This is to former teacher,

    I and most parents that have children here at NHHS are very happy with what Finn has done for this school.
    We couldn’t be more pleased with his dedication and effort to rid the school of subpar teachers as well as students
    that just come to school to cause problems. I have had 4 children graduate from 2 local high schools so far. NHHS was the worse 6 years ago. Now it’s the top performing school in the area, and it is the toughest to manage! Finn should be awarded for holding teachers and students accountable based on their performance.
    I am glad my child is at NHHS and glad that a few of the low performing teachers are feeling the pressure of performance! I am sorry anybody has to lose their job, but I know 2 of my child’s Former teachers at NHHS were terrible and tried to get me to write a letter about how terrible Finn was last year.
    I politely told them I wouldn’t do that.
    I have been a professor for 17years and I say do your job or find another! See if you can make it in the private sector with your poor performance! I am a total Finn supporter! Great job Todd keep up the good work!!!

  • AParent says:

    I agree with much of what you wrote! One thing to keep in mind is that it takes a majority of school board members to act. Do some investigating, and you’ll find that at least one of the newly elected board member was in favor of firing Markley. Three to four doesn’t get the job done. It IS time for the good-old boy network to get gone!!

  • Randy says:

    Wish teachers had the opportunity to advance as Stephanie ,Markley’s secretary evidently did . No college requirement for her and teachers have at least 4 years and certification / re certification. What a joke.
    Keep up the good work WWAY !

  • Mom says:

    Who voted for and who voted against? I’d like to know for next voting.

  • Laura Wilkins says:

    State funding of North Carolina public schools has us ranked as number 11 in the country; we fall to the bottom of the list because of lack of funding on the local level. The responsibility for that rest squarely on the shoulders of the county commissioners. Let them know how you feel and make the school board members aware of your displeasure with their performance. To the school board members that have been fighting this situation – we know who you are and applaud your efforts.

  • guest456 says:

    Do you have a calendar? September, October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May, two weeks of June and two weeks of August add up to 10 when I figure it.
    Plus I would work the extra two months for $75,000 a year. (That would give me about $12,500 a month for the summer months. Yes, sign me up for summer school, please!)
    Even if you figured the missing two months, we aren’t going to make what she makes with her high school diploma. I am National Board Certified and have a master’s degree (and the school loan to prove it) and 16 yrs experience and will NEVER see that salary as a teacher.

  • FedUp says:

    The team of the right teachers and the leadership at NHHS are why the reason the test scores are up!!! It takes Both to turn NHHS around like has been happening.

  • Randy says:

    And from what I’ve learned it’s a 3 to 4 vote to fire Markley, but 3 of the oldies and 1 newbie just don’t have the backbone .

  • Mary says:

    Hate to break it to you, but Markley’s affair has been public knowledge in the school system for quite some time. It became newsworthy when the pay increase was discovered. Teachers haven’t had a raise in over 5 years. A 100% pay increase is news. Bet she doesn’t have to take a 2nd job like myself and many teachers I know. And that’s just to pay the bills…not go to Disney.

  • dizzy says:

    Teachers are why the test scores are up!!!!!!

  • TeacherInterupted says:

    I understand the confusion with the propaganda that has been put out there by the current administration in this state– yes NC is higher on “education funding” however much of that money is spent on arbitrary programs (many owned and produced on every level by large corporations like Pearson and College Board), testing, specialty programs and physical maintenance. Teacher salary (and therefore raise and freezes) is set by the state and can only be supplemented by the local district. NC is 48th in the country for teacher pay– putting us squarely behind less populated and more impoverished areas of the country. If you take into account that we have not had a cost of living raise in five years, we are down nearly 20% of our standard of living since the freeze went into effect.

    Beyond that, we are also being charged constantly increasing rates for medical and supplementary insurance. The paltry 1.2% raise that was so touted two yeas ago was accompanied by a 3.6% raise in insurance prices and a complete loss of vision and dental insurance (which we can purchase for a mere $62/ month if you are single and do not wear contacts). Tact on to that the effort to cut extra pay for advanced degrees and licenses and it is clear that NC does not value the education of its children–which is sad because when I entered this profession, I knew I wanted to work in NC because it was an education progressive state that was working to improve the idea of education in the South. That has been sacrificed on the alter of self important politicians who are doing irreparable damage to our kids and out future.

  • Retired teacher says:

    I retired from NHCS 3years ago. This has always been an issue at Central Office since I can remember.

    None of us who knows the way it’s operated here for the past 32years is even shocked. None of the higher ups at C.O.should even be considered as a replacement if this is what they are using to not renew Markleys contract!
    If they want to shame his name, and I don’t even know him, but I do know all the rest who are laying in wait!
    Get ready! Your dirty laundry will come to light too. Count on that!!

  • Facts says:

    As someone that works at the school board and knows both of them I am surprised at the assumptions being brought up. I know that neither one of them were/are married. I think many of the comments on this board are from a disgruntled employee. Having worked with both of them I can tell you that they are both wonderful people and their relationship has never caused any problems. I don’t know why two adults romantic involvement is “news”. Slow news day WWAY?

  • Matt says:

    Here is what I would like to know. How can they pay a secretary $70,000.00 and why do other administrative people get pay raises when they claim they have no money to take care of teachers or of traffic and safety issues around the elementary schools? If they ever got off their butts and went to the schools in the mornings and afternoons they could see the mess that they are responsible for creating. Why don’t they use the secretary’s salary, the pay raises and the money that they are given from the traffic cameras to address these issues? Where does the money from the traffic cameras go? Waay why don’t you research this?

  • Guest1221 says:

    *Are they or aren’t they*

  • Guest1221 says:

    Well, are they or aren’t they both married? I don’t know either party, but, some people are saying neither are married, some are saying both are married. The story doesn’t give any substantive facts and leaves the reader to draw their own conclusion – right, wrong or indifferent. If they’re married, shame on them both!

  • chaz says:

    I don’t think there is as big of an issue here as people are making. The real shame is that the perception of impropriety comes from Ms’ B’s raise when the teachers are making pennies.
    If the teachers were paid well, the schools were properly funded, and all was right with the world, then this wouldn’t be an issue.
    People should get paid what they are worth. That is the American Dream. If she is worth her pay she should get it. Teachers should also be paid much more. the system is broken and this situation just highlights it.
    And yes she is pretty hot. lol

  • Guestknows says:

    I bet she’s smokin’ hot. Way to go Markley! You should have just been considerate to the good taxpayers of New Hanover County. For that alone you should be canned. I also would bet Stephanie won’t have a problem getting a new job most anywhere. I would further bet that she leaves you if you get canned.

  • Barbara says:

    I think this is a shame that our teachers who are the most important people get such low pay…but most of all I think they should be suspended without pay.. Are they?

  • Concerned says:

    Sad…John Morris as Superintendent hires his wife Lisa Morris to be Personnel Director, Rick Holliday, Ass’t Supt. wife is named Principal at Holly Tree. Raises being given within the administration…corruption downtown. Needs to be investigated thoroughly. Markley is just the tip of the iceberg.
    Wonder why teachers are frustrated…then the Board mandates no Red for Ed. shirts. Seems like the inmates are running the asylum.

  • Cindy Bossi says:

    I have no problem with the assistants making a good salary but do have a problem with them making more than our teachers. Many teachers have been with the NHCS for over 15 years and they don’t even make $40,000. We need to get our priorities in order.

  • Jim stevens says:

    Holliday is an old croney from the John Morris days……he got Holliday’s wife a principalship…..Holliday has promoted numerous people to form his “team” for when he thought he would get to be super…..should Markley checkout who do you think is next in line…..the deputy superintendent…..remember, Markley also promoted Ms. Nichol’s daughter to the principal position at Bradley Creek…do you get the picture here?….check the salaries on the Star News……this is disgusting!

  • Judge Judy says:

    You’re either commenting on the wrong article, lying or ignorant of the truth. Both were married at the time. Not so sure either of them has their divorce finalized, if that’s what you are referring to. But their current marital status doesn’t matter. It’s what they were doing while working with each other and married to others.

    I see you’ve commented a lot on this matter. You are completely wrong, but seem to want to prevent everyone else from hearing the truth.

  • Sergey Geodakyan says:

    The problem is that coincidentally she gets a huge salary raise for no obvious reason. External credit?? Give me a break

  • BusinessIsBusiness says:

    Actually, I am pretty aware of the facts…and obviously a little more than you. It is a fact that they were both married when the affair began. You think he is just suddenly dating his longtime secretary? Why do you think the board covered it up this long? This wouldn’t even be an article if they were single and dating.

  • KnowFacts says:

    Actually, they were not married. You need to get your facts straight before making assumptions. I work at the school system and I have to say that I have so much respect for both of them and how they have handled this situation. Why is it anyone’s business what two adults do when they are off work?

  • Randy says:

    Please, let’s not confuse the issue. If you don’t like Holliday or think he shouldn’t be interim Supt.that’s your opinion; however it has absolutely nothing to do with the immoral behavior between a subordinate and a superior — Tim Markley and Stephanie.

  • just wrong says:

    It’s just wrong- I wish someone would ask Nichols and Hayes why Dr Holliday got a raise and new secretary … long have they known? Was there really no policy about this before now? Parents and children aren’t allowed to work at the same schools! Would someone please take the pictures down of Markley reading to our young impressionable children! If you don’t want to be called out in public, don’t work for taxpayers and oversee thousands of children! They may be “nice” people, but morale… So what’s next, will the board do something or are their hands still tied?

  • concerned says:

    Holliday needs to go also. We don’t need him as an interim superintendant!!!!

  • Randy says:

    Dr. Holliday was promoted to Dep Supt. ,a seemly well deserved promotion. He makes 5,000.00 more which takes him to about 124,000 while Markley is making 200,000.00 plus perks. Dr. Holliday with his experience and education ( which is more than Markley’s) should be making at least 160,000.00.

    His name should not be in this mess, he and his wife were married before they were employed in the school system over 35 years ago.

    Let’s remember the players in this affair are Stephanie and Tim Markley,it’s a superior having an affair with a subordinate. It is a firing offense and the Board should take corrective action promptly.

  • just wrong says:

    Agreed- it is totally an issue with Markley- not Holliday or anyone else. I only mentioned that because it may have been part of a cover up on the boards part. Let’s see what the board does with this…if anything

  • Guest1221 says:

    I get that it’s the company ink. While I would never have a relationship with someone with whom I work, I feel like consenting adults should have the liberty to do as they choose.

    I don’t have a pen, so, no worries there :)

  • guest 328 says:

    Wonder if they got their spouses’ consent…

  • Guest1221 says:

    I wasn’t aware at the time I posted that they are both married. The story is lacking quite a bit of information.

  • Randy says:

    Bd. of Ed . has deep pockets and since they didn’t fire Markley they are probably even more liable. I hope Stephanie husband’s attorney will go after Markley and the Bd. he ‘d better be looking for a mighty high paying job elsewhere.

    Thanks WWAY for staying on this story.

  • Vog46 says:

    Correct, as a board or commission they can be sued.
    But if I’m not mistaken ONLY IF the policies in place lead to this affair.
    Lawyers will argue this ad nauseum I’m sure and far be it for me to interpret law………
    But if these two lovers are together still I would guess that they have already conspired to make this as unprofitable as they can for they rejected spouses.

    suing a board or commission places a bigger burden of proof upon the plaintiff to prove harm and in this case the lack of a policy is not legal justification for a lawsuit in my humble nonlegal opinion.
    Politically it’s a disaster for the BoE – because the timing indicates they were addressing this after the fact and most news stories allude to no disciplinary action being taken against either one.
    I think the damage would be more political than financial (unless both were terminated)


  • SurfCityTom says:

    the suit would be against the employer which happens to be the Board of Education. And they in their infinite wisdom make the plaintiff attorney’s job easier by attempting to formulate a fraternization policy after the fact.

    For the spouse with grounds for suit, a judgement is good for 20 years in NC; and can be renewed for another 20 if still unsatisfied.

    Ain’t love grand?

  • SurfCityTom says:

    any half wit attorney can show the lack of policy contributed to an atmosphere conducive to spouse infidelity. Add that to later cover up attempts, you have strong grounds for suit with an out of court settlement likely.

    On another note, I recall Nixon had challenges from Watergate. not because he approved it or participated in it; not because he was initially aware of it. His problems arose from the cover-up. wonder if there would be similar challenges for members of the Board?

  • Vog46 says:

    School board members are elected officials and cannot be sued in NC – I believe.


  • Vog46 says:

    What if both say it was mutual?
    Again – the board itself is comprised of elected officials and are therefore protected against lawsuit in NC if I’m not mistaken. The county could probably be sued but they do have insurance.
    No matter what WE pay for it all and I find this to be irresponsible spending related to “protecting” a high ranking official by our school board.
    I no longer trust them to tell us the truth.


  • SurfCityTom says:

    as a body and employer, the Board of Education and the County can be sued.

  • Vog46 says:

    A LACK of specific policy is not a good basis for a lawsuit. The school board’s actions (or lack thereof) would have to be shown to have contributed to this affair. I suspect that would be highly unlikely
    This is a “personal/personnel issue” with political ramifications.
    I doubt that any lawsuit of this kind would be successful in this case.
    The political fallout will be fun to watch. On one hand we have those that don’t want Markly fired or disciplined, then we have the others that worked with the other group and kept it all quiet.
    Markley should go and the School board be replaced, in it’s entirety.


  • matchgirl says:

    The county finance officer and employees had to be aware of the disparity in salaries of this employee, the other administrative assistants named, and the certified personnel. I retired with 30 years, an M.ED and National Board certification and I was making $59,000. If the secretaries are worth this much more than the teachers, assistant principals, coaches and many principals, let THEM teach the children. I’m sure there are many school employees from the cafeteria to the main office who would gladly trade positions and salaries. On different note, this became public because of the salary question and the fact that taxpayer dollars are paying these employees. Keep the fight clean. There are children and innocent spouses involved. Everyone involved will be lucky if it doesn’t take these over-generous salaries and more to pay the psychiatrist bills for the children who are being affected by the publicity as well as the conflict at home. The school board needs to act quickly and not let this snowball into daily editorials and nasty headlines in the media.

  • Sergey Geodakyan says:

    Mr. Markley and DOT team is directly responsible for elimination of many elementary schools bus stops in 2013 which created a lot of unhappy parents and decreased safety. Parents have to spend at least 15 min escorting children to/from the bus. Older children go without adult supervision and sometimes run in front of the bus if late. On rainy days parents drive children 500 feet to a bus stop – creates extra traffic, wastes gas. Some parents have to leave younger children at home unsupervised. No clear answer was given by Mr. Markley and the director of Wilmington DOT (Ken Nance) to a simple question: “What benefits were gained as a result?” These bureaucrats should be either trained or fired.

  • Randy says:

    And, Wilmers reports directly to Markley . Nice little arrangement Markley will ensure Wilmers takes care of his sweetie.
    R. Holliday has nothing to do with this mess. We’ve had Dep. Supt. before ( Norm Shearin) worked well. With one of the Assistant Supt. retiring the first of the year this was probably a good move.

  • Look in to this says:

    Vice Chair Nichols pushes through a revised dating rule in August. It doesn’t even get a second look. Seemed rushed. Made news. Now we know why. Star News hints at this story early in this month. They ask if there was any evidence of a central office affair. Nichols and Chair Hayes deny knowing of anything. Yet, they take taxpayer money and give Rich Holliday a 5,000 dollar raise to name him deputy superintendent. And where is the secretary transferred to? A department under Holliday, so that she will not be supervised by her married beau. They moved her to accommodate Tim Markley.

    How can the district trust their supervisor? How can the people of this county trust the board? They had the chance to do the right thing, and they chose to cover it up rather than hold their superintendent accountable. This is absurd, a gross fraud perpetrated upon the people of this county, a use of taxpayer dollars to cover up an affair, and calls in to question every single quote that has been given in public. We must demand more as parents and tax paying citizens of this county. New board, new superintendent, we demand answers and action now.

  • Guest 1243 says:

    The last time the taxpayers saw such a significant pay increase was with the ABC board and Billy Williams. Mr. Williams is laughing all the way to the bank during his golden retirement years. This is another example of the corruption in our higher institutions where people are UNJUSTLY rewarded. The NHC school board has lost all credibility with the public trying to sweep it under the rug and should face the same fate as the ABC board. Time for some transparency and probing into central office’s salaries.

    Dr. Markley and the school board need to be shown the door because their ability to lead has been seriously compromised. As to how these people can go around school to school and look school employees in the eyes is beyond me. Shame on all of you !

  • Rick Wilson says:

    Is the trading of sexual favors for compensation no longer illegal in this State? They both should be arrested……one for prostitution and the other for solicitation. Any involved in the attempted cover up should also be arrested. The Attorney General’s Office needs to do a complete investigation of New Hanover County.

  • Vog46 says:

    I have no dog in this fight except for tax dollars being spent – my kids are all grown……in no particular order:

    First – marital infidelity is a private issue for MOST people, however when your salary is paid by tax dollars your infidelity is an embarrassment to the county and the taxpayers that provide your salary so yes you are a PUBLIC official and have to comply with more stringent oversight. The ILM Fire Department officer who was drunk on the job is another example of public officials behaving badly – Markley is much higher up the food chain so the oversight SHOULD have been stricter.

    Second – the secretary’s pay is outrageous and the implications of the affair tied to the salary increases is too glaring to ignore. Remember, she is a public servant, and will get a public pension which is taxpayer supported. At $35K after 30 yrs she’d get $20K (rounded off). At $75K after 30 years she gets $49K+ so the legacy costs associated with this “affair” are borne by the taxpayers and will cost us dearly.

    School board – sorry but you are ALL at fault whether you wanted Markley fired or not. Old baggers, Tea Baggers, Republican or Democrat – it doesn’t matter. As noted above the financial burden posed by this “affair” far out weigh the moral implications. If the school board was changing policy to “accommodate” this affair instead of firing Markley then you have failed in your responsibility to the taxpayers! This goes along with Don Hayes emails concerning budgets related to security and the desire to keep them confidential when they are in fact public record. This attitude of keeping us un-informed has now reached a level where I no longer trust the school board. This is unfortunate and politically a disaster for all concerned. An untrustworthy public official is not qualified for re-election regardless of politics or party affiliation in my mind. This will solidify my anti-incumbent attitude when I go to the polls.

    Markley needs to go and the entire school board needs to be replaced in the next election.


  • SurfCityTom says:

    a couple of further points which can come home to roost.

    If the marital infidelities were the result, in part, of the employment system and lack of non-fraternization policy; both spurned spouses would have the right to seek damages from the School Board and County.

    Next step, which of the wayward individuals made the first advance? If the Super moved first, the Secretary’s spouse has the right to sue him for alienation of affections. If the Secretary made the first moves, then the Super’s wife has grounds to sue the Secretary. And in North Carolina, they can sue for up to $1 million; and there have been awards that high during the past 2 years.

    Even if he loses his job tomorrow, the financial hit could come 3 or 4 years down the road.

  • dizzy says:

    check your facts it was on company time in the Board of Education building.

  • Guest1851658 says:

    So, why is it anybody’s business what 2 people do on their own time even if they do work thgether? Small minds at work.

  • Troy says:

    I’m so glad to see impropriety in a new area here in New Hanover County. Give the police and fire guys a much needed break!

  • oneperson1 says:

    It is about time this came out. Teachers AND parents have known for a long time. And it is our business because it is OUR tax dollars paying their salaries. Rumors are spreading that Dr. Markley “created” a position for her that had previously not existed. This may be false info but it would be nice if WWAY would look into that piece of information.

    It is unfortunate that Dr. Markley is under scrutiny because he still has a job to do and I do not believe he is doing it effectively. The School Board and Markley were recently made aware of a Principal in this county that has broken several NC General Statues and falsified documents that were filed with the School Board. These actions are punishable by law and minimal action has been taken. This is definitely a “good ole boy” system that turns a blind eye. Maybe WWAY could “request” emails that have been sent to Dr. Markley that are not marked as confidential and see what else they have been sweeping under the rug…it’s all public info.

  • windy says:

    … a man in such a public position should demonstrate better common sense than to fornicate with his secretary. I guess there is no common sense in the district either, huh…

  • Guest-o-matic says:

    …as the article addresses “dating”, not “fornication” as you accuse. Do you have a secret camera somewhere? Where is your common sense?

  • guest1221 says:

    My dad always said “Never dip your pen in the company ink”. However, they’re consenting adults, who’ve consented to be in a relationship together. Why is this news?

  • Ken Murphy's Coaster says:

    It’s the company ink! And he works for the company! Go nuts, dude! (Just remind never to borrow your pen.)

  • SYP says:

    Since they are both married, I wonder if they will make a rule about dipping it in ONLY ONE ink bottle at a time. I am sure the divorce lawyers are rubbing their hands together in great anticipation of more clients.

  • who cares says:

    Two consenting adults is not anyones business.

  • BusinessIsBusiness says:

    I would imagine it is their spouses’ business – both are married. It is the public’s business because they hired and pay the superintendent. His lack of sound judgement could end up costing the county millions if the girlfriend cries “sexual harassment”. Superiors should not be in romantic relationships with their staff – married or not. And what of the secretary’s mysterious raise during this fiasco? Will that be reported as well?

  • Adam Wike says:

    This is what passes for news?

  • Randy says:

    While our college educated with a Master’s Degree , Assistant Principals and even some Principals make less, not to mention our classroom teachers. Heck, even Teacher Assistants must have 2 years of college now and they certainly don’t make anywhere what they deserve.
    Teachers have gone without raises while more responsibility ,( requiring more time)is placed upon them. Then you have a secretary , (whatever the fancy title they gave her is , she’s still just a secretary), doing far less than the actual secretaries in our schools making over 75K . And her retirement after 30 years will also be more than our classroom teachers with college degrees and 30 years in the classroom .
    We need to hold our Bd. of Ed. members accountable, especially the Chair. He has told all sorts of tales to the media, obviously trying to cover up for Markley. He and the other old guy on the board need to go!

  • turkeygirl says:

    I am sure Dr. Markley has been sweating in his shoes, the school board trying to make a policy all the while he has been the reason behind the non-frat. policy. Now it is out in the open, are they going to keep him or fire him ? Has his irresponsible behavior been covered up by the board, what other scandals are being kept hush hush from the public. Concerned parents ought to remember this when they go to elect the next school board. It is time to clean house and start anew, our county and their children deserve better.

  • and he keeps his job? says:

    It should be private BUT both individuals work for taxpayers. He is suppose to be a leader that children see as a role model. If you look closer, accommodations have been made for both of them at the expense of taxpayers. The fact that he is a married man speaks to his character and lack of judgement. If you don’t want to be judged, stay out of the public eye. I don’t want someone making decisions for my children who shows such lack of discretion and judgement. Those of you who say “who cares”, do you have children in the public schools and do you really know what is going on with your money in central office? Surely the board of education is not going to let this slide.

  • windy says:

    … I’m sure all they’re guilty of is holding hands and kissing.

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