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Four employees ousted at Blind Services over sweetheart deal

Thousands of state workers haven't received pay raises in years, but Division of Blind Services worker Caroline McManus was due for a $97,000 boost overnight.

The plan: To quit her $59,000 computer programming position and return the next day as a $156,000 contractor.

All the managers approved it. Same job, same desk, more than double the pay.

While that sounds like a great deal for the employee, it also violates a rule that bans workers from leaving state jobs and returning within two years for more money.

After learning about the ploy from an audit released this week, officials with the Department of Education halted it and fired two employees, suspended two others without pay, and forced two more to resign. One of those forced to resign was the division's director, Joyce Hildreth, who had approved the pay raise for McManus.

This is only the latest sign of turmoil at the Division of Blind Services. Last month, a Times/Herald story revealed Hildreth, a former contractor, farmed out no-bid contracts to her former coworkers that were so loosely worded the groups could charge $58 dollars per hour for driving to a blind person's house or more than $2,000 for a brief phone call.

Read more here. 

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