|High school grad Jeanne S. Evans,
former aide to ex-congressman Owen Pickett has been hired for $79,016
by School Supt. Tim Jenney.
When Pickett left office, he was paying her well over $100,000 while much of the working staff's income was in the low $20,000 range.
Even before she was hired Feb. 7 by Jenney at that salary level and again after hiring her, Jenney tried to raise her salary another two grade levels - a reportedly $23,000 +/- a year. The school board voted down the proposal.
Neither Jenney nor Evans will discuss why. Jenney through a spokeswoman said he wouldn't answer questions about what he knew about her background, education, or experience level because he didn't consider Virginia News Source a credible web site.
Evans also sent word through the spokeswoman refusing to be interviewed for this story. She also refused to provide information on her educational background, job description, or when she first started negotiating for the position, and what she has accomplished to date.
Her congressional bio shows she graduated from Kellam High and attended Boston MA Conservator of Music (a source said only a couple months one summer while visiting a relative).
The Department of Human Resources said her job title is Coordinator of Governmental Services. Evans position has no job description.
The person who previously held the job, Patricia Holt only made $65,495 when she left. She had more than a high school education.
Human Resources said one other person was interviewed for the job, but it was not (and didn't need to be) advertised.
School Board member Al Ablowich said in an interview, "I don't recall her educational background..." being mentioned by Jenney when she was presented to the board.
"We need to evaluate what she has done in the past and what she can do in the future.
"Did she say she had received a degree and she hadn't?" Ablowich asked. VNS told him he'd have to find that out, Jenney would not say.
Hiring Evans comes as school officials put teacher merit pay on the back burner.
Jeff Cobb, president of the Virginia Beach Education Association (VBEA) said, "This is a further commentary on this (Jenney's) administration. If it is true, the School Board should exercise better oversight in hiring people like this."
In a recent profile in the Virginia Beach Beacon, Evans dodged all mention of education. She did acknowledge she isn't a reader, pleading she hadn't the time.
Evans, 52, also would not disclose her age saying simply she was one of the 'Boomers.'
Pickett who named her his administrative assistant said, "I hired her because she knew who was who in the district (who was important and who was a regular constituent). She has no management experience, that's why I have to micro manage the office."
Her claim to fame has been her association with Pickett. Self-described as a 'pit bull' others considered her a junkyard dog.
In the congressional office, her behavior alternated between soft and caring to explosive, shrill, nervous, loud hyena-like, seemly uncontrollable fits of laughter to yelling and screaming.
She ran the office by intimidation. Most staffers recognized that her relationship with Pickett made any complaint useless and dangerous. And she made sure they knew that.
On more than one occasion, she'd get in Pickett's face, even at public events, and Pickett would say, "Now, Jeanne, don't forget who's the congressman here."
On other occasions, he reduced her to fits of crying through his stern rebukes or refusal to allow her to accompany him to an event.
She acted as Pickett's media bodyguard in hating the media, writing on one occasion, "I am well aware of the incompentency [sic] of reporters."
She gave herself the title of Chief of Staff and later, without qualifications, press secretary, as well. She frequently answered the office phone, "Congressman Picketts..." letting her voice trail off until it was inaudible, leading more than one person who didn't know Pickett, to believe they were speaking directly with the congresswoman.
Evans also served as his surrogate wife at both local and DC official and social events, mother confessor (seldom farther away than his elbow), and one lobbyist even addressed her in a FAX as Jeanne Evans-Pickett.
In every campaign from 1992 until he left office, Evans was linked by rumor mill romantically to Pickett, raising questions that had to be denied in each campaign.
One eyewitness even reported the date he saw Evans come out of Pickett's oceanfront condo at 8 a.m. (Pickett later explained she had been there to let the cleaning woman, who'd forgotten her key, in to clean the condo. Pickett's cleaning woman was Evans sister).
Political fundraising, generally acknowledged as a legalized shakedown racket, was an Evans specialty.
She was aggressively involved in fundraising, for Pickett's and in helping other Democrats' campaigns against Republicans.
In her new job, she will be dealing with state and federal legislators - all of whom are Republicans.
Because of her take no prisoners tactics in past Democrat campaigns, some question whether she can be effective in her new position.
Ablowich said, "It will be interesting to see how she works with the Republican delegation. She and I get along pretty good, but that isn't indicative how she'll get along with everyone else."
A poll of the state delegation indicated several had never heard of or from her. Other acknowledged they'd either heard of her or had received a request for legislative assistance.