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Fired Hillsborough maintenance worker to settle for $5,000



A federal lawsuit that alleged politics got a school maintenance worker fired is all but resolved.

The Hillsborough County School will pay George Olmo $5,000, pending approval by the School Board Tuesday.

Olmo, 56, was fired in 2012 for giving out petitions in the Leto High School cafeteria to place board member Susan Valdes on the ballot for re-election. He sued in 2013.

While Olmo said Valdes was not yet a candidate at the time and he did not know he was breaking a rule, the district said the longtime employee, who was active in the service workers union, should have known. And while Olmo alleged the problem was that Valdes is a critic of Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, the district said it always enforces its policy against engaging in campaign activities at the workplace. What's more, district officials said, employees are reminded of the policy every election season.

Olmo said Wednesday that he is now retired and could no longer afford to pursue the lawsuit. "I just want this thing to get over with so I can move on," he said. "This is like the big fish going after the little fish."

Attorney Tom Gonzalez, who represents the school district, said, "It was a baseless case then, and it's a baseless case now."

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the board will name principals at these schools: Middleton High, Roland Park K-8, Shaw Elementary and Webb Middle.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:53pm]


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