Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough School Board's attorney says he's leaving post

TAMPA — For the second time in less than a year, Thomas Gonzalez has told the Hillsborough County School Board he no longer wants to be its attorney.

He'll still represent the district, he said. But the board needs to find other representation.

The announcement followed a long meeting Tuesday in which Chairwoman April Griffin moved to hire an auditor who would report directly to the board.

Gonzalez said the law allows the board to hire a financial auditor, not someone to do performance audits. Hearing that the district already undergoes dozens of financial audits each year, the board rejected the idea 4-3.

Griffin called the vote even though Gonzalez told board members it should have been on the agenda first. She also questioned Gonzalez about his opinion on what the auditor could or could not do.

Gonzalez said Wednesday that their discussion did not prompt his decision.

"That's just part and parcel of public sector law," he said.

Gonzalez said he is really following through on a resignation he submitted last April.

At the time, the district was grappling with opposition to classroom visits from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

At a workshop, then-chairwoman Candy Olson tried to put the matter to rest with a written statement clarifying the district's policy on public speakers.

Gonzalez told her the statement amounted to policy, and she could not act on it without going through the public hearing process.

The controversy continued and Gonzalez decided to stop representing the board.

"I just think it's time to start talking about a transition," he said at the time.

For a while, the board explored its options.

"We looked at the cost of in-house counsel, and it was appalling," Olson said.

After conversations with board members and staff, Gonzalez decided to stay — at least until after last year's School Board elections were decided.

With the new board in place, Gonzalez said, "I thought this was an appropriate breaking point."

Griffin said she respects Gonzalez but does not apologize for questioning him about his opinion.

"We are supposed to blindly trust our attorney," she said. "Well, I'm not going to blindly trust anybody.

As he did in April, Gonzalez said he will remain on the job until the board replaces him.

Hillsborough School Board's attorney says he's leaving post 01/16/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  2. At College World Series, the save goes to an LSU dad/doctor

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The father of LSU pitcher Jared Poche' helped revive an 87-year-old man who was slumped on the TD Ameritrade Park concourse with no pulse during Game 1 of the College World Series finals.

    UF’s Tyler Dyson delivers against LSU in Tuesday’s late CWS Game 2. Go to tampabay.com/sports.
  3. Plant City police searching for drive-by shooter

    News

    PLANT CITY — Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest in an early morning drive-by shooting outside a home.

    John J. Keeper, 49, was shot in the thigh in a drive-by shooting early Tuesday outside this home at 516 E Laura St. in Plant City. [Hillsborough County Property Appraiser]
  4. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December

    Blogs

    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.

  5. Taylor Swift congratulates Russell Westbrook on MVP Award

    Blogs