For Pinellas school custodian, 28 chances to improve job performance -- and counting
It's well documented that some school district employees are able to hang on to their jobs despite persistent problems. But a case coming before the Pinellas School Board on Tuesday may take the cake.
Since he began working for the Pinellas school district 20 years ago, Scott Long, the head plant operator at Fairmount Park Elementary, has been in hot water with his bosses again and again -- 28 times in all, according to a summary of his disciplinary history that can be found on Page 35 of the board's agenda packet.
Long, who makes $40,488 a year, has been written up for tardiness, absenteeism and insubordination. His evaluations have repeatedly pointed to shortcomings in quantity of work, quality of work and "initiative." A recent investigation concluded that, among other problems, he "failed to properly supervise the plant operations team at the school, resulting in concerns over the cleanliness of the school."
Despite all that, Long will remain employed, though with a demotion, if the School Board accepts a recommendation from superintendent Julie Janssen.
Long at first refused a demotion, according to the agenda packet. He requested an administrative hearing after Janssen recommended in June that he be fired. But he subsequently requested through a lawyer that he be demoted to plant operator. Janssen is recommending a proposed settlement in which Long remains employed but waives his right to a hearing.
Long has been on unpaid leave since June 17. He would lose $11,248 in salary and benefits from the demotion.