Pasco School Board vice chairman Allen Altman couldn't help but notice a seeming inconsistency Tuesday between superintendent Heather Fiorentino's words from earlier in the summer and the action she was asking the board to take that night.
It wasn't too long ago, Altman said, that Fiorentino told the board and community that she was removing longtime Pasco High assistant principal Robin Futch — a rehired retiree — in order to give younger educators in the district a chance to rise up the ranks.
But then Tuesday, Fiorentino wanted the board to approve the hire of an out-of-state educator as an assistant principal for one of the county's elementary schools.
Officials tried to explain the move. The woman was Zephyrhills born and raised, they said. She worked for the district before and wanted to return.
"I don't doubt that," Altman responded. "But she's not been employed by the district for the past year. ... I'm trying to see what the difference is."
They tried another explanation. Futch was retired and at the top of the pay scale. This woman never retired and demanded less pay. She might even become part of the next wave of Pasco education leaders, in fact. Besides, the district had found jobs for all of the displaced educators, so it was now offering positions to people from outside.
Board members shook their heads. Futch had agreed to take an entry level administrator's pay, they replied. Plus she had years of invaluable experience. Not to mention that there are plenty of people in the district's assistant principal pool who live and work here already.
Nothing against this person who was recommended, they said, but, please.
The board ultimately approved the appointment. It really had no reason not to. But some members afterward made clear they had put the superintendent on notice that they're watching what she says and does, and they're taking their jobs perhaps more seriously than ever before.
We'll be keeping an eye on how this relationship develops.