South Carolina Superintendent of Education Mick Zais took twice as much personal time during 2011 as the average state employee is allowed, according to an exclusive look at the schools chief’s schedule.Zais’ personal calendar, which was made available to Sen. Phil Leventis (D-Sumter) through an open records request in November and later obtained by Palmetto Public Record, shows that Zais took 234 hours of personal time (the equivalent of 29 full workdays) between Jan. 12 and Nov. 17, when the schedule was turned over to Leventis. That number doesn’t include medical leave, of which Zais took the equivalent of six workdays during the same period. The schedule also doesn’t include the final five weeks of 2011, when Zais may have taken even more personal time for the Christmas holidays.
In sharp contrast to Zais’ considerable number of absences, a state employee with 10 or fewer years of experience is allowed 15 days of personal leave per year — about half of what Zais took during the 44 weeks covered in his schedule.
Education Department spokesman Jay Ragley said the state superintendent, as a constitutional officer, is held to a different standard than regular employees. “Because of their unique status in state government, constitutional officers are presumed to be on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are not allotted sick days or annual leave time as standard state employees accrue,” he said…
Democrats are making a big thing of this. I got this link from an advisory from Phil Bailey with the Senate Dems (under the headline, “Senators to Discuss Zais’ Truancy”), telling me that Sens. Leventis and Brad Hutto are having a press conference to talk about it at 3 today at the State House. No, I don’t know why Sen. Leventis didn’t bring it up in November, when he got the info.