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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

SPC board orders HR audit

16

September

The St. Petersburg College board of trustees this morning ordered an independent audit of the college's human resources practices amid allegations that president Carl Kuttler and other top college administrators showed favoritism in hiring one of Kuttler's close personal friends.

Board chairman Deveron Gibbons said the audit would "make sure our policies and procedures are where they need to be." Though the audit will not focus solely on the case of 33-year-old International Studies director Violetta Sweet, Gibbons said, it is the impetus for the review.

Sweet, a native of Kazakhstan, received a $64,000-a-year job managing international studies programs despite dozens of applicants being more qualified, according to a St. Petersburg Times review of the 61 applicants for the job. It's not clear if she met even the technical requirements for the position, which call for four years of related administrative experience.

Sweet and Kuttler have been friends for several years. Kuttler gave Sweet away when she married, and before Sweet recently filed for divorce, Kuttler advised her to seek counseling. Both deny charges of favoritism, and Kuttler said he specifically asked to be excluded from discussions considering her application.

At this morning's trustees meeting, Kuttler sat silent as the trustees discussed the audit. Trustee Terrence Brett will select the auditor and monitor its work.

For more about the hiring of Violetta Sweet, read here.

-- Aaron Sharockman, Times Staff Writer

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[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:35am]

    

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