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USF takes issue with Hillsborough candidate's job titles

TAMPA — On paper, Hillsborough School Board candidate Frank Hernandez has an impressive resume.

He told the St. Petersburg Times in a questionnaire that he has served as "Director of Government Affairs" and "Director of Diversity & Multicultural Awareness," two important positions within the division of student affairs at the University of South Florida. His campaign Facebook site in June referred to him as "USF Director of Diversity."

But Hernandez, 29, is not a senior administrator at the university, and he's not the one who earns $71,000 or more overseeing those issues on campus. He is a full-time graduate student, and his job is a part-time, $9.55-an-hour position within student government.

When asked about his recent jobs, he readily fills in the details. But his written record, including job titles on his campaign site, says nothing about student government.

Hernandez says he never intended to represent himself as a senior USF administrator, and sees no problem with the way he has described himself.

"I have been the director of diversity and multicultural awareness," he said. "I am currently the director of government affairs. If you want to ask me specifically about my role, I will explain it to you in 100 percent honesty."

But a USF official said those job titles were lacking.

"To be accurate, it really should say student government director of government affairs and student government director of diversity," said spokeswoman Lara Wade. "I would say that the university would like to ask him about it, and try to account for the discrepancy. It is taken seriously."

A former Air Force staff sergeant, Hernandez is trying to unseat four-term incumbent Candy Olson in the race to represent District 2, which covers South Tampa and southern Hillsborough. He is currently studying full-time at USF for a master's degree in education and public policy.

Hernandez acknowledged that it's not his primary job to lobby federal, state and local governments to promote USF's interests and defend its funding, as the university's two-person government relations office does.

Instead, his job involves coordinating between the three branches of student government, advocating for student interests, and holding events like a recent candidate forum. As half-time diversity director for student government last year — not to be confused with the university's full-time Director of Multicultural Affairs, who earns $71,000 — Hernandez said he earned about $17,000.

But he said he isn't in it for the money.

"I'm not doing this for any prestige or any other alternative than I want to serve my community," Hernandez said. "I feel that I can provide a really good voice on the School Board, and bring fresh and new ideas that haven't been brought for a long, long time."

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400.

USF takes issue with Hillsborough candidate's job titles 07/30/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 2:08pm]
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