Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas district officials pledge to get along better

The Pinellas school district's top two officials signed an agreement Monday in which they pledged to respect each other and work together "in a collaborative fashion" after months of tension.

School superintendent Clayton Wilcox and School Board attorney Jim Robinson signed a "working protocol" after three meetings with former Hillsborough superintendent Earl Lennard, who served as a facilitator.

Among the provisions:

• Wilcox and Robinson will meet at least weekly, or more often if deemed necessary by both.

• Wilcox, in recognizing Robinson as the general counsel for the School Board and the district, will utilize him for the district's source of legal advice.

• Robinson will consult with and consider Wilcox's input prior to issuing formal legal opinions.

Both Wilcox, whose salary this year is $204,509, and Robinson, whose salary is $170,562, said they are optimistic about their future working relationship.

"I think they were fruitful conversations," Wilcox said of the meetings with Lennard.

Robinson credited Lennard, who did not charge the district for his services, with crafting an agreement he thinks both he and Wilcox can honor.

"He was very gracious with his time," Robinson said. "The protocol touches on the essential elements of the working relationship that needs to exist between our two offices."

In a phone interview late Monday, Lennard said he, too, is optimistic the two officials will move forward on better footing.

"Very early on, I could tell they both were committed to finding a way to resolve their issues," Lennard said. "They both put the good of the district above their individual differences."

Those differences, which played out for months behind the scenes, came to light recently after Robinson expressed disappointment that Wilcox had moved forward on a legal issue without contacting him. Wilcox responded by questioning Robinson's competence and saying he would seek his advice only in limited circumstances.

Robinson asked School Board members to intervene at that point, suggesting they utilize the services of a facilitator.

Board chairwoman Nancy Bostock, who voted against the idea, said she is pleased with the outcome.

"I think they're both professionals and that they'll make a renewed effort to work in a way that will benefit the school district," Bostock said.

Board member Linda Lerner said the agreement was a good one.

"It's simple, but it's to the point of what needed to be addressed," Lerner said. "It's basically a reiteration of the job description and responsibilities of the School Board attorney."

Donna Winchester can be reached at or (727) 893-8413.

Pinellas district officials pledge to get along better 03/31/08 [Last modified: Saturday, April 5, 2008 2:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'


    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  2. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store


    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  3. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108