Ed Dept Boss Accused of Sexism Gave Raises Only to Men, Sources Say
LONG ISLAND CITY — An Education Department boss accused of sexism and promoting a frat house atmosphere in his office recently doled out hefty raises to male workers — but none to female employees, sources say.
John Shea, the CEO of the DOE’s school facilities division, gave pay hikes last month of between 6.4 percent and 10 percent to five male directors who were already pulling down six-figure salaries, according to sources.
Many of the division’s employees were shocked and disgusted when they learned of the big pay bumps and for what they saw as Shea’s favoritism in the Long Island City office, sources said.
"It's appalling," a source told DNAinfo New York. "The majority of the work is done at a lower level. Why is he giving out this amount of money to them?"
Two women in the division are currently suing Shea and the city, accusing him of making raunchy jokes and running an office with few high-level female employees. Only three of the division’s 14 directors are women, according to the lawsuits filed last year.
One plaintiff, Sheila Dancy-Wilkins, says in her lawsuit that she was a director in the division from 2006 to 2011, and held a law degree — unlike her male counterparts. Yet in her last year in the position, her salary was $12,000 to $41,000 less than every male director's, according to her lawsuit.
Even a male deputy director made $23,000 more than her, she claims.
In 2011 Dancy-Wilkins said the DOE demoted her, claiming her director position had been eliminated, and slashed her salary by $16,000.
"Senior management has not only tolerated but encouraged a culture of sexism and sex stereotyping," her lawsuit said.
Aside from the alleged wage discrepancy, the lawsuits claim that Shea would talk openly about which female employees were “doable.”
Another plaintiff, Heidi Husser, the division's director of labor relations, claims in her lawsuit that Shea told her his nickname was “Mosquito” because of the small size of his genitals. He also showed her a digital picture of himself in a speedo and zoomed in on his crotch, according to the lawsuit.
Shea gave the recent raises to Gregory Bracco, Anthony Salvadore, Timothy George, Mark Harri and Salvator Calderone, according to sources. Bracco, Salvadore and George each got 10-percent hikes, the sources said.
All five made between $119,000 and $136,606 in 2012, according to city payroll data. Shea is one of the highest-paid executives in the DOE and took home $182,588 last year.
"It's unconscionable," a source said of the pay discrepancy between men and women in the division. "[The women] were paid less money to begin with. Their input is as good as everyone elses. They work hard."
When reached by phone, Salvadore and George declined to comment and referred questions to the DOE’s press office. George did not respond to a request for comment. Harri and Calderone could not be reached.
Several requests for comment and information on the directors' new salaries didn't receive a response from the DOE.