Pinellas debates rehiring administrators
For the second time in less than a year, the Pinellas County School Board last night debated the need to rehire top administrators who previously retired under the state's Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP.
Board member Robin Wikle again led the charge and prompted a separate vote on four administrators: Chief Financial Officer Fred Matz; human resources director Harriet Konstandinitis; director of planning and policy Allen Mortimer; and Leonard Krysko, director of facilities and operations business management.
"We're currently not extending our principals, we're not extending our teachers, we don't extend our support staff," said Wikle, who added, as she did last year, that the re-hiring limits natural attrition and discourages recruitment.
Superintendent Julie Janssen and assistant superintendent Ron Ciranna defended the re-hires. Ciranna said three of the four administrators would only be working a few more months. He noted two of the positions were being eliminated because of budget cuts. He said their skills were needed at a tough time.
"There is no better time to keep someone like him and his expertise in the district," Ciranna said of Matz. "We need his expertise here for at least another year to get us through this turmoil."
Board member Janet Clark didn't sound convinced.
"You choose to go into DROP," she said. "I have sympathy but you know what? You make your choices and you live with what you decide."
Some board members were also concerned that the DROP status of the administrators was not noted in the agenda, as they had apparently suggested in the past.
"I'm bothered that now we're neglecting to put that in there," said member Janet Clark.
"I'll take full responsibility for that," Ciranna responded. "That was my oversight."
Janssen said the format would be changed in the future to meet the board's expectation.
The board voted 6-1 to rehire the four administrators, with Wikle voting no.