Former Montgomery County school superintendent Charles M. Bernardo, who relinquished his post last month after a long contract dispute, has taken a job as vice president of a Washington-based international consulting firm.
Bernardo joined Pacific Consultants Inc. two weeks ago after he was approached for the position by the firm's president, Otho J. Green. Green said yesterday Bernardo will earn "substantially more" than the $52,000 annual salary he received as superintendent.
Bernardo, under an agreement he reached with the county school board, will continue to collect his superintendent's salary until December.
Pacific Consultants, with offices in Washington, Berkeley, Calif., and Boston, provides research management and technical training to dozens of countries around the world.
Green said he was introduced to Bernardo by friends at a local restaurant four weeks ago and was impressed by Bernardo's performance as superintendent. He called him a "thoughtful, aggressive, highly intelligent man."
"I guess my firm is also making a statement in hiring Dr. Bernardo," Green said. "I am black and I like the man's philosophy. Those folks who keep the faith in us, we keep the faith in them."
The comment referred to Bernardo's efforts in the Montgomery schools to further integration. Green praised Bernardo for implementing a mandatory course for school employes in black culture and other efforts to increase racial understanding.
Bernardo was forced to resign by the school board's conservative majority after a court ruled that his second contract, due to begin in September, was invalid.
The majority members charged that Bernardo, who came to Montgomery after serving as superintendent of Providence, R.I., schools, alienated many parents by choosing to close 21 schools with declining enrollments.
They said he also lowered teacher morale by implementing several innovative but untested programs, including the madatory black studies course.
Pacific Consultants holds contracts with several United Nations agencies to give agricultural and technical assistance to Third World countries.
As head of Pacific's education and training division, Bernardo will be charged with acquiring more contracts and expanding the firm's domestic operations.
Bernardo, who was unavailable for comment, had expressed a desire to remain in the Washington area.