Wake County school board member John Tedesco is hunting for a job right now to help pay the bills.
Tedesco has been out of work since he announced April 2 that he was resigning his job at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle "to commit full time over the next few months to my role as a member of the Wake County Board of Education."
The fact that Tedesco has been unemployed has led to questions from his critics about how he's getting by financially, with some suggesting nefarious dealings. But Tedesco said he's gotten by the past eight months with some careful budgeting and use of his life savings.
"People just don't want to believe that you'd use your life savings to do good to help the community," Tedesco said. "I can sleep at night with a clear conscience. I've never taken a buck that didn't come from publicly known sources."
Tedesco said he's gotten by from using the $18,000 in savings he built up the past several years. He said he wasn't as concerned about using his savings because, at age 35, he felt he could build them back up again.
Tedesco said he's also used a $5,000 federal tax refund and his $1,236.50 a month stipend as a school board member.
(For those who are curious, that means Wake school board members get a total of $14,838 a year. The board chair gets a monthly stipend of $1,511.79, which works out to $18,141.48 a year, )
Plus, Tedesco said he's cut back on his spending this year.
But Tedesco said things are starting to get tight now so he's been sending out resumes. He said part of the challenge is finding jobs that won't be a conflict of interest with his work on the school board. Most of his background has been in fundraising, especially for children's groups, and as a town manager.
At least once a week, someone and usually multiple people will call or e-mail me asking how Tedesco can possibly still be making a living. You can probably guess who these critics of Tedesco think is helping him pay the bills.