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Pasco schools investigator faces firing over arrest

LAND O'LAKES — A Pasco County school district investigator known to many as the "hatchet man" now faces the ax.

Bryan Jack, an employee relations supervisor whose job included investigating wrongdoing by other district employees, goes before the School Board on Sept. 6 to face a recommendation for dismissal from his job of five years.

In a letter informing Jack of her recommendation, superintendent Heather Fiorentino cited several instances in which she said Jack's personal life negatively affected his professional responsibilities. Most recently, he was arrested Aug. 6 on accusations of domestic battery and simple assault against his wife, Fivay High assistant principal Cindy Jack.

Bryan Jack, who had been drinking, allegedly broke down two doors and violently grabbed his wife's arm during a 2 a.m. dispute, according to the arrest report.

"Mr. Jack, as a supervisor in the Employee Relations department, you are charged with enforcing the district's policies and procedures, as well as ensuring employee compliance with state and federal law," Fiorentino wrote. "To properly execute these duties, it is essential that you adhere to these policies, procedures, laws and regulations."

She wrote that his arrest, which also violated district and state ethics policies, convinced her that Jack's ability to serve had been "compromised."

Jack, 41, declined to comment Thursday. Shortly after his arrest became public knowledge, he told the Times that he expected the charges against him to be dropped.

Court records indicate the charges are still pending.

He has not notified the district of his intent to challenge Fiorentino's recommendation. He has until the Sept. 6 board meeting to do so. He filed for an unpaid leave of absence on Aug. 15, after being told that he would be recommended for dismissal. The unpaid leave has not been approved.

In her letter to Jack, Fiorentino said that his arrest after an alleged drunken, violent outburst at his home was only the most recent problem.

"Unfortunately, this is not the first time that matters related to your personal life have impacted your professional obligations and created a disruption for the district," she wrote.

In 2008-09, she continued, Jack was banned from going to the Mitchell High School campus after his relationship with a married assistant principal — who is now his wife — caused disturbances and "notoriety." Jack also was married at the time.

Fiorentino said that measure hindered the small Employee Relations department's ability to fully do its job. At the time, Jack promised to take steps to ensure that his personal life did not encroach further on his work, so he was given an opportunity to do so.

No details of the Mitchell High disciplinary action appear in Jack's personnel file. District spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said the matter was handled verbally.

More recently, but obscured by the arrest, was an Aug. 3 disruption that Jack caused at River Ridge High School, where he disputed his ex-wife's enrollment of their daughter.

"Several staff members at the school reported their belief that you were attempting to utilize your position as a district employee to prevent your ex-wife from exercising her legal right to be part of the decisions related to your daughter's education," she wrote.

Fiorentino noted that district policy directs administrators to avoid situations in which their personal activities conflict with the board's interests. That policy pointedly includes any activity that "threatens a staff member's effectiveness within the district and/or the school community."

The actions Jack is accused of threaten his effectiveness, she said.

The School Board suspended Jack without pay on Aug. 16.

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

Pasco schools investigator faces firing over arrest 08/25/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 25, 2011 8:59pm]
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