The athletic directors at the 19 high schools in Prince George's County are neither paid nor official. For months they have been seeking to change that, but they have approached the wrong people, according to two county school board members.
Instead of directing their efforts to School Superintendent Edward J. Feeney, as they have been doing, they should be approaching the school board, said school board chairman Jesse Warr Jr. and board member Sue Mills. While the two school board members disagree as to the most effective means, both agree the board has the ultimate power to decide on funding for such positions.
"He (Feeney) is powerless to negotiate with a committee for the allocation of extra money," Warr said. "We do not have a job description of an athletic director. The board would have to consent to a new position in our staff."
Warr said the best route for the athletic directors would be to gain the support of the Prince George's County Education Association (PGCEA) and have the position negotiated into the teacher's contract. However, Warr said he would recommend the action be taken for the 1978-79 contract negotiations which open in September."
Mills said the group's best procedure would be to gain the support of board members. She said while the budget has been "subfinalized" by the board, it is not final and additions can still be made.
"I don't think this is part of contract," she said. "I think it would be wise to approach one member of the board and have a tutorial session. If they're looking for support, I can support them philosophically . . . I've always been in favor of people being paid for their time."
Fred Rummage, PGCEA executive director, said he had not heard any word from the athletic directors. "As a matter of fact, these people should have a spokesperson appear before the negotiatoons concept council."
A spokesman for the unpaid athletic directors said that after little progress was made at a June 1 meeting with Jack Willard, the county's athletic director, the group decided to approach the elected board as a last recourse. Marty Gallagher of Northewestern High School in Hyattsville, the spokesman of the group, said no immediate plans were made on when the group would approach the board.
The athletic directors first contacted Super-intendent Feeney by letter Nov. 29, requesting a meeting to discuss the development of a position of athletic director in each of the county's 19 high schools. A meeting was scheduled for Feb. 7.
The superintendent found the athletic directors in disagreement among themselves and requested further study and a future presentation, said Dr. Alan Chotiner, deputy superintendent of schools.
In the Feb. 7 meeting, the athletic directors presented a plan, including a budget and an outline of athletic directors' responsibilities.
The 14-point plan of their regular responsibilities included complete responsibility for equipment, correspondence, preparing school athletic handbook, maintaining facilities, and handling public relations. Also mentioned were presence at team parctices and working out last minute details in athletic schedules, bu schedules and officials' assignments.
The athletic directors' budget called for a $2,000 stipend for the regular employment and an additional $1,850 for "11th month" employment in August.Applied to 19 high schools, the total package would cost $73,150, according to the group's plan.
However, the athletic directors said there would be an immediate savings of $13,022 in fees paid for miscellaneous services that would be performed by the athletic directors. For example, schools now pay $125 for a football game manager, $200 for a boys' basketball manager, $140 for a wrestling match manager, and $150 for a girls' basketball manager.
These fees now might be collected by each school's unpaid athletic director, though in many cases they are not, said county athletic director Willard.
The group also proposed an additional $71,410 in revenue whaich could be realized by the county, including $30,000 from night football, which is new to the county. By combing boy's and girl's track into a coed position and eliminating one coaching spot, the directors said $16,834 could be saved. Additional projected monies were $18,211 from eliminating indoor track, $1,755 in gate receipts from Christmas wrestling tournaments and another $4,650 from holding Christmas basketball tourneys.
Gallagher, the group's spokesman, and Steve Gilligan of Oxon Hill, another member of the negotiating team, both said the figures are conservative if anything.
Gilligan said he would relinquish his athletic director responsibilities if he were not paid for his effort.
"I don't think they think we're serious," said Surratsville's Lew Jenkins, another member of the negotiating committee. "They've had uas for years and and haven't forked over a nickel."
Jenkins, who quit after nine years as wrestling coach, said he would likely resign his athletic director responsibilities.
Superintendent Feeney could not be reached by phone, but left messages that Chotiner would represent the superintendent's views.
"All we were doing was talking with them, Chotiner said. "They came in with a proposal. At the time they came in, the superintendent had made it clear that if it was put in, something else would have to be taken out because we are dealing with a zero-based budget."
"Nobody's against them having athletic directors, from Dr. Feeney on down - especially from my point of view - but it has to be financed," Willard said after the June 1 meeting. "Maybe all the work that should have been done hasn't been done. Maybe it's my fault. "I wasn't aware a problem existed."