Supervisor of H-1Bs Forced Out of Job

By David North on August 2, 2012

One does not often see a headline like the one above, unfortunately.

The boss in question was, in fact, forced from her job, as was reported in the Washington Post the other day, but the thrust of the story was on the official's maladroit use of an automobile, not her organization's abuse of the H-1B program, though the latter was mentioned in passing.

Synthia J. Shilling is leaving her job as human resources chief for the Prince George's County (Md.) school system. In that position she presided over the continuation of the school system's extensive and controversial use of the H-1B program to hire foreign schoolteachers, primarily from the Philippines. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

The U.S. Labor Department does not go out of its way, particularly under a Democratic president, to beat-up on a heavily Democratic and African-American county government; but the record of the Prince George's County school system vis-a-vis the H-1B program was so bad that the department ruled that the schools owed the H-1B teachers $4.2 million in back wages, and laid on (but later withdrew) a fine of $1.7 million for related actions, as we noted in an earlier blog.

The Washington Post coverage of the issue barely mentioned the fact that Prince George's County schools hired the alien teachers, rather than resident ones, in an effort to cut costs and to keep teachers in disruptive classrooms that resident teachers would have left. Being, in effect, indentured, the Filipina teachers had no choice but to stay in difficult classroom situations, since their only alternative was to return to the islands.

The Post also had little to say about how the use of the H-1B program denied jobs in the system to unemployed resident teachers.

Ms. Shilling's downfall, however, was not because she handled the H-1B question badly, but because she allegedly handled cars and alcohol badly; she has had at least two highway arrests, the more recent one for allegedly leaving the scene of an accident. An earlier one, in which she was said to have twice the legal level of alcohol in her system, also involved a physical assault on the arresting state trooper.

Ms. Shilling, according to the Post, was paid $172,289 a year by the county, which is immediately adjacent to the District of Columbia. See my recent paper for more on a disastrous story of H-1B and J-1 teachers in Maryland, and how half a dozen of them repeatedly violated the income tax system.