Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Hernando school administrator sues superintendent over job transfer

BROOKSVILLE — Former longtime Hernando County School District administrator Ken Pritz has filed a lawsuit against superintendent Lori Romano, alleging he was wronged when he was assigned to new duties and then released from the district this summer.

Pritz was employed with the district for 34 years and was appointed assistant superintendent of teaching and learning in July 2012. He was a finalist for the superintendent's position before Romano was hired in 2013.

The complaint, filed in Hernando Circuit Court, seeks monetary damages in excess of $15,000.

Citing pending litigation, Romano declined to comment to the Times. Pritz directed questions to his attorney.

The lawsuit alleges that Romano transferred Pritz to the position of warehouse manager in December without notice or warning, a point Romano contests. The suit claims the superintendent then went on to draft a memorandum in Pritz's name, telling principals and district officials that he was excited about the new opportunity, creating a false, deceptive and misleading impression.

Pritz was not aware that the memo was sent out.

After he was moved, Pritz wrote a letter to the School Board and superintendent under the state Whistle-blower's Act, claiming violations of a number of Florida statutes, board policies and ethical codes.

The suit claims Pritz suffered unlawful retaliation after submitting the written complaint.

The evidence?

On May 30, Pritz was notified he would be assigned to the warehouse position for the 2014-15 school year, performing the same duties and responsibilities he had during the past school year, but for less pay.

When Romano moved Pritz to the warehouse in December, she did not strip him of his title or pay — $101,725 a year. His title would have changed to warehouse manager for 2014-15, with his pay reflecting that change. The new position would have paid about $61,453.

The superintendent recommended Pritz for nonreappointment when he objected to the change and did not accept the position. Pritz, like other employees serving on annual contracts, can be terminated without cause.

His attorney, Bruce Snow, says the termination was retaliatory.

Snow argues that Pritz is entitled to reinstatement to the same position as he held before, reinstatement of benefits, compensation for lost wages and other compensatory damages.

On June 10, an investigation by Tampa labor and employment lawyer Tammie L. Rattray found that the memo sent out in December in Pritz's name did not violate School Board policy.

While Rattray acknowledged it was not a best practice, she said there was no evidence that the memo was created or distributed for improper or personal gain.

Contact Danny Valentine at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. Follow @HernandoTimes.

Former Hernando school administrator sues superintendent over job transfer 08/13/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 8:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board looking for ways to fill financial hole

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board's interim leader told the governing board Tuesday that the troubled agency is looking for ways to climb out of its

  2. Adam Putnam calls for special session on medical marijuana

    Blogs

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam wants state lawmakers to come back to Tallahassee in a special session to finish the work on medical marijuana that they started but didn't finish earlier this month.

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam is a candidate for governor in 2018.
  3. We Tried That: Working on a food truck for a day

    Cooking

    What we tried: It seems like everyone and their mother wants to open a food truck.

    Carlynn Crosby prepares food at the Empamamas food truck in the Cigar City Brewing parking lot in Tampa this month. For a variety of reasons, food trucking is not for the faint of heart.
  4. Local child welfare non-profits lose funding as Eckerd Kids focuses on keeping children out of foster care

    News

    When it comes to getting children out of foster care, the non-profit group Directions for Living has one of the best records in Florida.

    Eckerd Kids
  5. Carlton: A little less swagger, Mr. Mayor?

    Politics

    In the dispute-gone-national over a bad joke uttered by Tampa's mayor, it is instructive to recall the nickname bestowed upon him by the local military.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn fires a .50 caliber machine gun from a rigid hull inflatable boat during the International Special Operations Capabilities Demonstration at the Tampa Convention Center Wednesday, June 25, 2016. JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times