THE SCHOOL BOARD OF
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
MINUTES, NOVEMBER 10, 2003
The School Board of Escambia County, Florida, convened in Special Meeting at 3:00 p.m., in the Board Room, at the Dr. Vernon McDaniel Building, 215 West Garden Street, Pensacola, Florida, with the following present:
Chair: Ms. Linda Finkelstein Vice Chair: Mrs. Cary Stidham
Board Members: Mrs. Carissa Bergosh (was not present)
Mr. Ronnie L. Clark
Dr. John DeWitt
School Board Attorney: Mr. Francisco M. Negron, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools: Mr. Jim Paul
I. CALL TO ORDER/ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Ms. Finkelstein called the Special Meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. Motion was made by Mrs. Stidham, seconded by Dr. DeWitt, to adopt the agenda, renaming Section II, as “Items from the Board” (rather than “Items from the Superintendent”). Motion was approved 4 to 0, with Mrs. Bergosh absent for vote.
ITEMS FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT ITEMS FROM THE BOARD 1.
Recommend that employee #153101 be suspended without
pay effective Tuesday, November
11, 2003 and that he be terminated from employment effective thirty (30) days thereafter
based on misconduct as more specifically noticed to the employee through notice
letter. The approval by the Board of this recommendation for suspension without
pay and termination is subject to any right of review the employee may have
under Chapter 120, Florida Statutes.
1. Recommend that employee #153101, be suspended without pay effective immediately, with the right to pursue an administrative hearing pursuant to Chapter 120, Florida Statues, provided that should the employee elect not to proceed with an administrative hearing within twenty (20) days from today’s date, the employee shall be terminated from employment, effective November 10, 2003. The Superintendent shall be requested to prosecute this matter on behalf of the School Board. The employee shall be notified of this action in writing.”
Motion was made by Mrs. Stidham, seconded by Ms. Finkelstein,
“That employee #153101, be suspended without pay effective immediately,
with the right to pursue an administrative hearing pursuant to Chapter 120,
Florida Statutes, provided that should the employee elect not to proceed with
an administrative hearing within twenty (20) days from today’s date, the employee
shall be terminated from employment, effective November 10, 2003. The Superintendent
shall be requested to prosecute this matter on behalf of the School Board.
The employee shall be notified of this action in writing.”
The Superintendent stated for the record, that it was his opinion and that of his attorney, that the Board did not have the authority to make disciplinary recommendations with regard to employees. He noted that he had come prepared with a disciplinary recommendation for this employee, as it was his belief and his attorney’s opinion, that only the Superintendent had the authority to make such a recommendation.
The Board recognized Shelia Romaine, who requested if possible, that the Board order another investigation into the allegations of misconduct by this employee. She also requested that “someone outside the District” conduct that investigation.
The Board recognized Debra Cooper, attorney for the employee, who advised that the employee did wish to pursue an administrative hearing (pursuant to Chapter 120, Florida Statutes) and would request that the Board consider a “suspension with pay” pending the results of the hearing, rather than a “suspension without pay”.
Dr. DeWitt and Mr. Clark stated that were “having trouble supporting the suspension without pay” portion of the recommendation, as they were concerned with the financial impact that it would impose on the employee. Dr. DeWitt felt as if the “suspension without pay” clause was a like “punishing the employee before he was even found guilty.” Mrs. Stidham and Ms. Finkelstein noted that in the past, other employees had been “suspended without pay” until the outcome of an administrative hearing. Although they too were concerned with the financial impact that a “suspension without pay” would impose on the employee, they did not believe that he should be treated any differently than other employees. Motion was approved 3 to 1, with Dr. DeWitt voting “No” and Mrs. Bergosh absent for vote.
There being no further business, the Special Meeting adjourned at 3:20 p.m.