Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco School Board seeks independent counsel on superintendent complaints

LAND O'LAKES — A retired principal's complaints about Superintendent Heather Fiorentino's administration will be handed over to an independent counsel to determine if any board policies were violated.

School Board members voted unanimously Tuesday evening to allow school district attorney Dennis Alfonso to hire someone to look into Barbara Munz's allegations that some employees felt threatened, intimidated and strong armed into supporting Fiorentino's campaign.

Fiorentino, who faces a re-election challenge on Aug. 14 from former Secretary of State Kurt Browning and Moon Lake handyman Kenneth Benson, called the vote "purely political."

"They're just trying to help their friend," said Fiorentino, referring to Browning, who has drawn support from some board members and school employees.

Fiortenino said she was ambushed, as no one told her the topic was coming up at Tuesday's meeting.

"I have not seen any documents," she said. "I have not seen any charges."

Alfonso said there is no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing, only questions about possible policy violations. One complaint, about the transfer of a district administrator to an assistant principal's job, was taken off the table as the superintendent has that authority and the staffer resigned.

Alfonso said the other allegations, if they are true, could constitute a violation of the district's campaign policy and its civility policy. He said the allegations don't directly involve Fiorentino, but are "related to the superintendent." A newly approved board policy says that such cases should be assigned to independent counsel to investigate.

Alfonso called the situation "awkward" and said since Munz's complaints earlier this month, the district had received letters and calls from other people.

Board chairwoman Joanne Hurley declined to comment on Fiorentino's accusations that the move was political.

Alfonso said he did not know how long the investigation might take. He recommended the board authorize him to hire Thomas Gonzalez, who has been an attorney for the Hillsborough County School District. The cost would be about $175 per hour.

Pasco School Board seeks independent counsel on superintendent complaints 07/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 8:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Romano: Sinkholes take Florida's quirks to a whole 'nother level

    Public Safety

    So all of this — the beaches, palm trees and fresh grouper sandwiches — comes with a few extenuating costs. To live in Florida is to accept a lifestyle of hazards, both peculiar and deadly. Lightning strikes and hurricanes, for example. Alligators and sharks, too. Floods, drug traffickers, spring break and …

    Two days after a sinkhole opened in front of her Spring Hill home in 2014, Linda Fisher packs up to leave for good.
  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 18: Despite feeling ill, this pilgrim passes the midpoint in her 500-mile journey on foot

    Travel

    Day 18: Lédigos to El Burgo Ranero: 34.3 km, 12.25 hours (Total for Days 1-18 = 428 km (266 miles)

    Today was a struggle.

  3. Former Rays/current Cubs manager Joe Maddon featured on NBC Sunday news show

    Blogs

    Former Rays and current Cubs manager Joe Maddon will be featured on this week's "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" show at 7 p.m. on NBC, the Harry Smith interview covering not just Maddon's on-field accomplishments but his extensive efforts to help his hometown of Hazleton, Pa.

    "Here's what's so …

    Joe Maddon talking with NBC News' Harry Smith.
  4. For starters: Souza returns to lineup

    Blogs

     

  5. Actor John Heard dies at age 72

    Blogs

    John Heard, who played so many roles in the '80s but was probably best known as the dad in the Home Alone movies, has died, according to media reports. He was 72.