Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Memos come back to bite school official

LAND O'LAKES — For the second time in a month, the Pasco school district's new communications director is taking heat for failing to accurately communicate employee policy.

Three weeks ago, Maureen Moore, who joined the district in April, sent principals a memo telling them they needed written permission to speak to reporters. That contradicted School Board policy and superintendent Heather Fiorentino's expected practices and was quickly rescinded.

This week, Moore distributed a memo to members of her staff stating, in part, "In the event of an emergency, you are to notify your supervisor immediately of the need to receive or make a personal call." The requirement came as part of a department "guideline" on the use of phones at work.

And like the memo on talking to reporters, this one got yanked by the superintendent's office.

"It is something I've asked her to modify because we don't have the policies" to back it up, assistant superintendent Ruth Reilly said Thursday.

Asked if the top brass has concerns about Moore's problematic memos, Reilly said: "It's not my department. ... I was asked to check into it and I made some recommendations."

Veteran School Board member Marge Whaley said she did have some questions about the communication department's activities and about the memo in particular.

"It reminds me of the hurricane memo," Whaley said, referring to a letter sent out last year in Fiorentino's name telling employees they must remain on-call during summer months in the event of emergencies. The employees filed an unfair labor practices complaint and won.

"You don't make (rules) that you cannot enforce," Whaley said, suggesting that pushing rules such as getting permission to make and receive an emergency personal call would do little more than unnecessarily anger employees.

That does not mean, though, that the board wants to allow unrestricted personal calls during work hours.

In fact, the board has asked the company that's revising all district policies to rewrite the phone use rules as part of the effort. But even the proposed changes speak only of using discretion and limiting personal calls to breaks and lunch, saying nothing of emergency calls.

"Does it mean you never take a personal phone call? Well, no," Reilly said.

Once the policy is complete, she said, the administration will work to ensure that all employees understand it. Right now, not every department has a staff handbook or written guidelines, which has led to some confusion. The reason for focusing on personal calls arose because of one employee who made many of them during work hours and then "the individual said, 'I'm not aware of that guideline,' " Reilly said.

"This is an area the superintendent and I are going to work on," she added.

For her part, Moore said she was only trying to make a "goodwill effort" to inform her staff about the expectations regarding personal calls. She said she had not distributed it to everyone in her department and was seeking input from employees to see if they had questions or concerns.

"We are making some changes to it," said Moore.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

Memos come back to bite school official 07/31/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 3, 2008 11:27am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Mayor: Men stabbed after anti-Muslin rant died as 'heroes' (w/video)


    PORTLAND, Ore. — Police said Saturday they'll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of an Oregon man accused of fatally stabbing two men who tried to intervene when the suspect yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train.

    A sign of thanks rests against a traffic light pole at a memorial outside the transit center on Saturday in Portland, Ore. [Associated Press]
  2. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  3. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Wing Jonathan Drouin could be the only piece that Tampa Bay has to acquire a badly needed top-tier defenseman.
  4. Ryan Hunter-Reay running strong as he seeks a second Indianapolis 500 title

    Auto racing

    Ryan Hunter-Reay isn't a big jewelry fan.

    Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won Indy in 2014, is a contender for a second title in today’s 101st running. He qualified 10th, had the third-fastest practice lap and his team is looking strong.
  5. As Trump's overseas trip ends, crisis grows at home (w/video)


    President Donald Trump headed home Saturday to confront a growing political and legal threat, as his top aides tried to contain the fallout from reports that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is a focus of investigations into possible collusion between Russia and the president's campaign and transition teams.

    President Donald Trump waves as he exits Marine One on Saturday at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy. After a nine-day trip overseas, the president is returning to Washington.