Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Memo to Pasco principals was miscommunication

LAND O'LAKES — For the second time in just over a year, the Pasco school district's administration division has landed in hot water after issuing a controversial memo without the superintendent's authorization.

Last year, assistant superintendent Renalia DuBose sent out a missive in superintendent Heather Fiorentino's name telling employees they must remain on-call during summer months, when they don't work, in the event of emergencies. The workers filed an unfair labor complaint, and a state hearing officer sided with the union.

This time, new communications director Maureen Moore, who reports to DuBose, wrote to principals and assistant principals on July 2, telling them that they could not speak to news reporters without written permission from the communications office. Some School Board members and veteran principals quickly questioned the need for such a procedure.

Fiorentino, who was out of town at the time the memo was issued, quickly rebuked the message Monday morning, saying it "won't work" and was not her intent at all.

What's more, the memo violated School Board policy, which gives responsibility for dealing with the media on school-related matters to each school principal.

"I had had a conversation with Renalia about directors," Fiorentino said, referring to her desire to have a more unified message coming out of district-level departments. "I didn't realize she was sending it to principals. … This will definitely be clarified before the end of the day."

Principals had a new, more flexible rule from the superintendent — not the director of communications — in their e-mail in baskets before 4 p.m. Monday. The restated procedures make clear that principals can use their discretion to decide whether they want to talk to reporters.

That's as it should be, board members said.

"We should always be open and completely honest with the press," board member Marge Whaley said. "Doing this kind of thing tends to become reality, and people perceive that you have something you want to censor or whitewash. I wouldn't want to block anyone from talking to the press."

She particularly didn't like the idea that someone might be reported as unavailable for comment — something she considered "always a negative" — simply because that person could not get permission to speak from the district office. "We have nothing to hide."

Board members Kathryn Starkey and Allen Altman also had concerns about the initial memo, saying they planned to ask questions about its necessity and its feasibility. That was before Fiorentino tossed it out.

Fiorentino said she also had "fixed" the situation that led to the memo being sent out in her name without her approval.

"Memos from me or about me on my direction will be seen by me prior to going out," she said.

Asked for more details, Fiorentino said, "I don't like when buses drive over me. I won't drive one over someone else. It's been handled."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

Memo to Pasco principals was miscommunication 07/07/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 11, 2008 8:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  2. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  3. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena

    Tourism

    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  4. Update: Scientology cancels planned mock FBI raid on downtown building

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The Church of Scientology planned to film a mock FBI raid on a downtown building Monday afternoon, but the actors and cameras never showed up to the location disclosed to the city.

    According to Clearwater Police, the Church of Scientology plans to hold a mock FBI raid at 3 p.m. Monday at this vacant building at 305 N Fort Harrison Ave. Police announced the raid in advance to alert the public. They said they did not know the reason for the event. [Google Earch image]
  5. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary

    Human Interest

    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]