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. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge

    Bucs

    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  2. Carlton: A moment of sanity when citizens finally said no

    Courts

    If you were looking for some small sign of sanity in the world, here's one courtesy of the people of Tampa and Hillsborough County.

    The Confederate memorial statue outside the old Hillsborough courthouse is now boxed up in plywood to prevent vandalism. Private donors have ponied up money to have the statue relocated to a cemetery. [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]
  3. Review: Jason Aldean fires up a country-dude party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

    Blogs

    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.
  4. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee: