PLAISTOW — Earl Metzler, the state’s highest-paid school superintendent, is fighting an attempt by School Administrative Unit 55 to have his lawsuit over pay for compensatory time thrown out.
In an objection filed last week, Metzler’s lawyer, C. Kevin Leonard, asked a Rockingham County Superior Court judge to deny the SAU’s motion to dismiss his case.
Metzler filed the wage claim case in November after he was paid at a straight time rate.
He claims the SAU, which serves Hampstead and the Timberlane Regional School Districts, failed to pay him at a time-and-a-half rate for working on non-scheduled work days, like holidays and weekends.
Metzler, who earns $175,882 a year, maintains that he’s entitled to be paid the full amount for that compensatory time.
The SAU disagrees, claiming Metzler isn’t entitled to additional compensatory time under any state or federal laws.
In his objection, Metzler states that the SAU policy on compensatory time “expressly provides that both exempt and non-exempt employees are paid compensatory time at a time- and-a-half rate. Instead, as the SAU admits, it compensated the plaintiff at straight time.”
The SAU stated in his motion to dismiss that the “essence of the legal dispute” is Metzler’s theory that the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “compels compensatory time payments to exempt employees to be at the employee’s time-and-a-half rate.”
SAU 55 officials have argued that the time-and-a-half rate is a federal law provision that applies to “employees not as well compensated as a superintendent of schools.”
Superintendent Metzler insists that the dispute isn’t about the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“Contrary to the SAU’s argument, the plaintiff does not contend that the FLSA compels the SAU pay exempt employees at the time-and-a-half rate. Instead, the plaintiff alleges that, although not required by the FLSA, the SAU voluntarily obligated itself to compensate exempt employees at the time-and-a- half rate” by the terms of its own policy.
The SAU board voted last June to change the policy to no longer allow the superintendent and other salaried employees to earn compensatory time.