Edinburg school board settles with directors in payroll snafu

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The Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to approve a settlement agreement with Payroll Director Zelda Martinez and Personnel Director Margarita Oyervides that followed the district’s attempt to terminate them in January.

The district’s discovery of tens of thousands of dollars of extra pay the women received responding to a payroll disaster in 2021 preceded the push to fire the pair, administrators testified earlier this year, describing Martinez and Oyervides as lacking permission to receive the payments.

The women, however, contended that they had acted properly and diligently — an opinion ultimately also held by a Texas Education Agency hearing officer who recommended their reinstatement to their positions or comparable positions last month.

The board wound up voting to accept that recommendation; however, it had already filled the payroll and personnel director positions and Martinez and Oyervides did not return to work when they were slated to. Tony Conners, the women’s attorney, noted that his clients occupied unique roles at the district and said before Tuesday’s meeting that they were appreciative of the district’s further attempts to find a resolution.

It’s not clear exactly what resolution the board reached with its settlement agreement. They discussed it behind closed doors in executive session.

The district referred requests for comment on the settlement to attorney Kevin O’Hanlon, who could not be reached for comment.

Conners, who did not comment on details of the settlement, said Wednesday that the directors and the district do appear to have settled the matter.

“My clients are pleased that we have a final resolution that probably works for everybody,” he said.

Prior to the board voting to accept the hearing officer’s recommendation last month trustees were primed to vote on a potential settlement.

That settlement would have seen them retire, be given a neutral reference from the district’s superintendent, have negative documents in their records be segregated and be paid through the end of June with one year of additional pay —$108,027 for Martinez and $126,015.34 for Oyervides.

Trustees did not, however, wind up voting on that settlement last month after a last-minute request from the directors to receive two years additional pay instead of one.