Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco school district: Odessa Elementary custodians left early, charged for full shift

ODESSA — Two Pasco school custodians face suspension and their supervisor stands to lose his job over allegations that they claimed to be working when they had already gone home.

Odessa Elementary School principal Teresa Love stumbled upon the situation last month while reviewing the school's alarm records. She noticed the alarm had been regularly set for the night at 8:30 p.m. for close to a year. Yet the night custodians' shift did not end until 9 p.m.

And that's what they claimed on their time cards.

Through video surveillance, campus spot checks and interviews, district officials quickly determined that the custodial staffers had claimed nearly 70 hours each in pay for work they had not done. The cost to the payroll: roughly $2,500.

"I didn't get any denial from any of the employees that it had been happening, and it had been going on for a long time," district employee relations director Kevin Shibley said.

Custodians Nick Dimitroff, 51, and Hernando Quevedo, 63, go before the School Board today for a one-day suspension without pay. They earn $8.45 per hour.

Shibley said it appeared they acted at the direction of assistant plant manager Joseph Primavera, 59, who faces termination Nov. 1. He earns $11.30 an hour.

"We hire them to do a job, and we expect them to work a specific shift," Shibley said.

Primavera said he has hired a lawyer and is talking with the district about his position. He declined to comment until those discussions were concluded.

"Your actions are unacceptable and constitute a theft of time and money from the district," superintendent Heather Fiorentino wrote in a termination letter to Primavera. "As the assistant plant manager of Odessa Elementary School, you were placed in a position of trust.... Your actions have broken that trust and raised serious concerns about your judgment and professional ethics."

While Fiorentino acknowledged the supervisor's role, she had pointed words for the custodians, too: "I still expect each of the district's employees to recognize the difference between right and wrong and to report activity like this to an administrator as soon as you become aware of it."

A third custodian, Azucena Caceres, 77, escaped suspension after explaining she thought she was allowed to leave early because she had not taken breaks during her shift, Shibley said.

The School Board can overturn Fiorentino's recommendations if it disagrees.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614.

Pasco school district: Odessa Elementary custodians left early, charged for full shift 10/17/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 17, 2011 10:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida's school grades improve as educators get the hang of a new system


    Following a trend, Florida's school grades showed strong gains in the third year after the state changed its grading formula and the standardized tests that students take every year.

    After finding out earlier Wednesday that her school went from a low C to an A,  Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates with her students in the YMCA After School program at the school in St. Petersburg. Houston is giving a high five to rising fifth grader Jonaven Viera. Rising 4th grader Jonathan Cafaro is in foreground with his back to camera. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  2. More charges for Tampa Bay area woman accused of getting pregnant by 11-year-old boy


    TAMPA — A woman sexually battered an 11-year-old Brandon boy, got pregnant and raised the baby for three years before a tip led to her arrest, Hillsborough County sheriff's officials said.

    Marissa Mowry, now 25,  had sex as many as 20 times in 2014 with a boy who was 11 when he impregnated her, Hillsborough County detectives allege. [Photo courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  4. Mariners lose lefty Drew Smyly to Tommy John surgery


    SEATTLE — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle's many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.

    Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Seattle announced the diagnosis on Wednesday, ending Smyly's hopes of returning during the 2017 season. [AP photo]
  5. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times