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Pinellas administrator will be investigated



The Pinellas school district will investigate administrator Janet Hernandez's role in the hiring and employment of her daughter’s boyfriend, district spokeswoman Andrea Zahn told The Gradebook today.

Zahn said in an initial email Monday that there was no pending investigation. About an hour later - after the Gradebook asked why not - Zahn sent a second email, saying she had a chance to talk with deputy superintendent Jim Madden.

“He has had an opportunity to confer with staff and review relevant information and has decided that his office will investigate the handling of the matter in question,” she wrote.

School board chair Janet Clark, reached after the initial email, said she assumed there would be an investigation - and that there still needs to be one. “If it were a teacher, if it were anyone else, there would be an investigation,” Clark said. “Maybe we are wrong. Maybe there was nothing inappropriate about (Janet Hernandez’s role). But ... an investigation would tell us.”

New information has surfaced since the Sept. 21 St. Petersburg Times story about Janet Hernandez and Michael Hernandez (the same last name is a coincidence).

Interim assistant superintendent for human resources Harriet Konstantinidis told The Gradebook late last week that the Gibbs job Michael Hernandez landed - and which was considered to be an extension of the professional development office, then headed by Janet Hernandez - was not posted.

Konstantinidis also explained why the job Janet Hernandez is now being recommended for - ESE program specialist - was not posted either. “We don’t always post all positions, particularly when we are seeking alternative placements,” she said. “In this situation, the directive was to seek an alternative placement for Dr. Hernandez.”

The school board will vote on the new job Oct. 12.

In the meantime, Madden's office, and not of the Office of Professional Standards, will investigate Janet Hernandez. "Most investigations are handled at the department or school level – this is consistent with district practices," Zahn wrote. "Given that there is no Associate Superintendent for Human Resources, it is appropriate for Mr. Madden’s office to handle this matter."

[Last modified: Monday, September 27, 2010 6:12pm]


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