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Two board members move to hasten Wilcox exit

353845 The Clayton Wilcox era is slowly winding to a close in Pinellas, but not fast enough for two School Board members.

Veteran board member Linda Lerner (left) urged the board Tuesday to immediately reduce the outgoing superintendent's role to "transition consultant" and install his top deputy, Julie Janssen, as interim superintendent. The effect would have been a sudden end to Wilcox's tenure as superintendent, which the board previously agreed would last until June 3.

But Lerner got support from only one other board member, Mary Brown. Both have been critical of Wilcox on a number of issues. The final vote was 5-2 against the idea.

Lerner argued that the district needed to move ahead as soon as possible with new leadership because of the budget crisis and other pressing issues. She acknowledged that Wilcox would have to agree with the idea, but he did not chime in. Board member Peggy O'Shea said Wilcox still needed to "bring closure" to several issues before he leaves for a job with Scholastic Corp.

Also Tuesday, the board formalized its earlier decision to make Janssen the interim superintendent effective June 4 at a salary of $185,000. The contract says she would receive the same percentage pay cut as other employees if the board votes to balance the budget by reducing salaries. In addition, the board formally voted to hire the Tallahassee-based Florida School Boards Association to conduct a national superintendent search for $6,000 plus expenses, for a total of no more than $25,000.

Board members waived a provision in Wilcox's contract that says he would have to pay up to $60,000 for a superintendent search if he leaves before his contract expires June 30. Had the board enforced the provision, Wilcox was prepared to finish out the contract. Board members favored waiving it, saying it would cost less than paying Wilcox $29,248 in salary until June 30.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:42am]

    

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