Dale Lord rec­og­nized for 43 years of ser­vice

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@ car­o­line­times­record.com

— Dale Lord, who re­cently re­tired af­ter driv­ing a school bus for Caro­line County Pub­lic Schools for 43 years, was rec­og­nized by the Caro­line County com­mis­sion­ers at their meet­ing Tues­day, July 24.

“It’s been a great ca­reer,” Lord said. “Un­less you’ve done it, you have no clue.”

Lord said she en­joyed the chal­lenges, from driv­ing the bus through snow to fig­ur­ing out how to re­late to the stu­dents.

“Some kids, you needed to find what made them tick,” Lord said.

Mil­ton Nagel, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent for ad­min­is­tra­tive ser­vices, said in ad­di­tion to be­ing an ex­cep­tional driver, Lord was an ad­vo­cate for all of the county’s bus driv­ers.

In the early 1990s, Nagel said, the IRS au­dited the school sys­tem, fo­cus­ing on the school bus driv­ers’ con­tracts. Af­ter the au­dit de­ter­mined the driv­ers should be treated as em­ploy­ees, rather than in­di­vid­ual con­trac­tors, the driv­ers formed a sin­gle LLC.

Lord was the orig­i­nal man­ager of the LLC, Nagel said, and did all the ne­go­ti­at­ing for its first con­tract with the Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“It was a tough time, as we had to cre­ate a new re­la­tion­ship with the driv­ers,” Nagel said. “But she crunched the num­bers as well as any­one I ever sat across the ta­ble from.”

Nagel said Lord’s work ce­mented the foun­da­tion upon which the driv­ers’ con­tracts are still based to­day.

“The driv­ers all know what her ef­forts meant for them to­day,” Nagel said, which is why she got a stand­ing ova­tion when she was rec­og­nized at the gath­er­ing for bus driv­ers held ev­ery year af­ter the last day of school.

Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. Pa­tri­cia Sae­lens called Lord “just amaz­ing.”

“She was the first and last face kids saw ev­ery day, and that makes a dif­fer­ence,” Sae­lens said. “We are very ap­pre­cia­tive of her ser vice.”

Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Larry Porter thanked Lord for her years of hard work.

“You did ev­ery­thing you had to do to keep those kids safe, and ad­vo­cated for all the bus driv­ers in the sys­tem,” Porter said.

PHOTO BY ABBY AN­DREWS

Re­cently re­tired Caro­line County bus driver Dale Lord, sec­ond from right, was rec­og­nized at the Caro­line County com­mis­sion­ers’ meet­ing Tues­day, July 24. Also pic­tured, left to right, are Com­mis­sioner Dan Franklin, Pres­i­dent Larry Porter and Vice Pres­i­dent Wil­bur Le­ven­good.

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