Ed board votes to raise Commissioner Riley’s salary

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – Members of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education signed off Tuesday on salary increases for Commissioner Jeff Riley, setting him up to receive pay bumps both retroactively and going forward.

The board approved a motion granting Riley a 2.5 percent increase for fiscal 2021, a 2 percent increase for the current 2022 fiscal year, and a one-time payment equivalent to 1.5 percent of his salary calculated after those increases. State payroll records as of Tuesday afternoon show Riley now earning a base salary of $257,005. A 1.5 percent additional payment on top of that would work out to $3,855.

In June, when the board agreed to give Riley a performance rating of 4.75 out of 5 for fiscal 2021, he was paid at an annual rate of $245,820. James Morton, who chairs the board’s Commissioner’s Performance Review Committee, said that in deciding on the salary adjustments, the panel “took into account Commissioner Riley’s exemplary service and performance rating for his accomplishments in FY2021, as well as the fact that he received no salary adjustment in FY2020.”

“The committee’s recommendation is consistent with the salary increases and one-time payment that the Commonwealth’s Human Resources Division announced on July 30, 2021, for all eligible managers in the executive branch,” Morton wrote in a memo to the board.

Riley’s management of K-12 schools throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and his decisions around in-person learning, MCAS tests and public health precautions have at times come under fire — Tuesday’s meeting opened with a public comment period in which some speakers called for a return of a remote learning option and others criticized in-school mask mandates.

The motion the board approved commended Riley “for his leadership, accessibility, engagement with stakeholders, and thoughtful decision-making during this extraordinarily challenging year.” There was no discussion prior to the vote.

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