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Pasco School Board takes superintendent Fiorentino to task, but doesn't overrule her hiring decisions



The Pasco School Board tonight deferred to superintendent Heather Fiorentino's clear authority to hire and fire district employees without their interference. Without objection, the board approved Fiorentino's recommended administrative reappointments, without the inclusion of assistant superintendent Ray Gadd, communication director Maureen Moore and Pasco High assistant principal Robin Futch.

"It is her decision. The board has absolutely no say in this," said board member Joanne Hurley, who opposed the dismissals.

Knowing that, Hurley focused on the board's recent decision to authorize the jobs that Gadd and Moore held for the coming year. Not knowing whether the board will support Fiorentino's "new direction" for the administration, she proposed eliminating those positions from the budget until Fiorentino brings forth more information.

"I'm not so sure I'm going to be on board with the new direction. I want to know what it is," Hurley said.

Chairman Frank Parker asked for legal guidance on whether the board could turn back its June 2 vote approving those jobs. Board attorney Elliott Dunn advised that the board could not reconsider only a portion of a previously approved item, just the full item.

Hearing that, Hurley withdrew her motion, saying she did not want to impact all the other employees on the list. Parker reminded her that another time would come to deal with the matter: "We have not approved a budget for next year," he said.

After the discussion, board vice chairman Allen Altman called upon Fiorentino to revisit the lessons learned during master board training in which they worked on collaborative decision making. He worried that Fiorentino's handling of the appointments hurt the district and undermined its ability to grow and improve.

Fiorentino did not speak about the issue or respond to the comments.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:26am]


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