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There is a impending developer’s attempt to legalize channel dredging accross Florida Keys sea grass flats post today at goodmorningfloridakeys.com. Meanwhile …
Last night, I received an email from Larry Murray saying he had heard from several sources that Superintendent of Schools Mark Porter had sent out an email after 5 p.m. yesterday, to the members of the School Board, saying he was not going to renew the contracts of Ken Gentile, Michael Kinneer or Cheryl Allen, when those contacts come up for renewal. As I recall, Gentile started out as the School Board’s Internal Auditor, when Kinneer was the School District’s Chief Financial Officer. Allen was something like their Executive Assistant, and she worked also with the volunteer Audit & Finance Committee. Later, Gentile assumed Kinneer’s duties, as I understood it, and Kinneer became the Chief Operating Officer. I believe all of that happened before Mark Porter was hired last year.
After talking with Larry on the phone, I called Todd German, to see if he had heard anything. He said he had not, but he would make some calls to see what he could find out. Todd is Chairman of the Board of the charter high school in Key West, so this was something he needed to know about. Todd called back later to say he spoke with School Board member Ed Davidson, who said he was called by Mark Porter late yesterday afternoon, and Porter said he was not renewing Gentile, Kinneer and Allen’s contracts when they came up for renewal. Davidson told Todd that Porter had called all the Board members with that news.
The Key West Citizen today on same topic, my thoughts in italics:
3 top schools aides gone
Gentile, Kinneer, Allen not renewed
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Three members of the School District’s executive team won’t return after this school year ends in June, according to an email Superintendent Mark Porter to School Board members Friday.
Porter would not comment Friday night when contacted by The Citizen, but two sources close to the district confirmed that the three are Ken Gentile, director of finance and performance; Michael Kinneer, director of operations and planning; and Cheryl Allen, human resources director.
“Their contracts will not be renewed,” one of the sources said late Friday.
The three administrators were among the highest paid in the School District and will remain on the job until their contracts expire, starting with Gentile in April and the other two on June 30.
Kinneer, hired in 2009, earns a salary of $126,639, while Gentile, hired in 2010, makes $122,000 a year.
Gentile and Kinneer were hired after the 2009 embezzlement scandal that ended the career of Superintendent Randy Acevedo, Monroe County’s last elected schools chief. Voters decided to let the School Board hire superintendents now.
Allen, with more than 20 years, is one of the most veteran employees on the payroll.
The two sources didn’t know specific reasons for Porter’s decision to let the three contracts expire, though Kinneer and Gentile have been criticized by board members about their on-the-job performance.
Porter, the first hired schools chief for the county, inherited the entire executive team when he arrived Aug. 1 after a 32-year education career in his native Minnesota.
Allen and Kinneer could not be immediately reached late Friday.
Gentile responded to a text and voice mail message with an email that said it was late and he was sorry to have missed a reporter’s call.
“In answer to your question: God is still God. He is still on the throne and He is still in control,” Gentile wrote from his gmail account. “When circumstances occur that you don’t understand or even when decisions are made that you don’t agree or didn’t plan for … trust Him. I do.”
Gentile has said that criticism leveled at him over the past year comes from discrimination over him being an openly devout Christian.
A Fraud Hotline complaint was filed against Gentile, alleging he was making people who worked for him pray with him. Gentile was in charge of the Hotline, and I have not heard the outcome of any investigation, if there was an investigation, of that allegation.
Kinneer has sparred with School Board Chairman Andy Griffiths before, particularly after Griffiths last July announced during a campaign event that the district should dump its two top financial officials — at the time Kinneer and Gentile — and hire one “qualified” money man.
I was at that candidate forum at Finegan’s Wake in Key West, as was Gwen Filosa. Andy boasted that he was going to get rid of Gentile and Kinneer. Andy, all by himself, was going to do that.
Gentile has been under fire for almost a year over his placing the title CPA on his resume in 2010, although he had never practiced in Florida and his New York license expired years ago.
None of which was news to the School Board, who hired Gentile. The firm they hired with taxpayer dollars to vet Gentile’s resume, in a written report told them about Gentile’s New York CPA license and that they could not verify Gentile was a CPA in Florida, and the School Board hired Gentile knowing all of that. On School District correspondence, Gentile represented himself as a CPA, which the School Board knew.
Porter suspended him for five days without pay as discipline, which Gentile served but is appealing the decision and has a hearing scheduled before the Division of Administrative Hearings on March 20.
I told Gentile, in is office, not to fight that case legally; it was not Jesus’ way. I have heard that Gentile has sued people in the past, for whom he worked. I have heard speculation that Gentile is setting the School District up to be sued by him for religious discrimination. There is no way Jesus in the Gospels would condone such a lawsuit.
In a lengthy Friday email update to the board, Porter noted in one paragraph that he met Friday with three executives, which he didn’t name, “to inform them that I will not be extending or renewing their contract beyond the current school year.”
In the email he reminds the five board members of the “details shared in phone conversations with each of you.”
Griffiths would not comment on or confirm which three employees’ contracts won’t be renewed.
“I don’t think it’s ethical for personnel matters,” Griffiths said.
Gentile arrived in the Monroe County School District as a financial watchdog, hired in 2010 by the School Board as its first internal auditor.
The new position was created in the wake of the scandal that sent Monique Acevedo to prison for eight years for stealing $413,000 of school money.
Last May, however, former appointed Superintendent Jesus Jara transferred Gentile over to administration for help in sorting out an embarrassing state audit with findings that included errors in basic accounting.
No way Jara transferred Gentile. Gentile worked for the School Board, not for Jara. The School Board transferred Gentile to Jara.
Starting about that same time, though, Gentile came under fire by other watchdogs and finally the School District over his use of the title CPA.
Gentile signed a three-year contract in 2010 with the School Board that required he be “professionally credentialed” as a CPA. But Gentile has never held a Florida CPA license and his New York registration had lapsed in 1993. He recently renewed his license in New York in light of the rumpus.
Florida makes it a criminal misdemeanor to call yourself a CPA without a license. But the law has a “knowledge requirement,” the School District’s attorney Dirk Smits pointed out in a report last fall.
Smits found that legally, Gentile had goofed, but that he “did not personally profit from any potential misrepresentation.”
Gentile never performed any CPA work for the district.
Nor for anyone else, as far as I heard. Sometimes in posts, and even at government meetings, I say I’m putting on my lawyer hat to make a point, I am as much a lawyer, even though I don’t practice law any more, as a retired physician is still a doctor, even though he doesn’t practice medicine any more. Gentile was still a CPA in that sense, but to hold himself out as a CPA on School District correspondence was a bit over the edge.
Also down Key West way, this rumpus in The Key West Citizen. The author of the letter to the editor is a dear friend of mine, whom I have been trying to convert from being a staunch Republican, to being a person. Last night, he sent me the editorial cartoon and the text of his letter to the editor.
You should be ashamed of yourselves for publishing a highly insensitive cartoon from the Los Angeles Times which implied that American cardinals were convicts. Yes, I know that some in the American Catholic hierarchy made some incredibly poor decisions in pedophilia incidents many years ago. However, to imply that all American cardinals should be convicts is just beyond the pale. A similar analogy would be to show President Barack Obama in a convict’s uniform only because blacks have a higher conviction rate for violent crimes than whites have. Before you publish such trash in the future, please consider the implications of the cartoon and how it reflects on your reputation.
817 Bay Drive
Summerland Key, FL 33042
Me, personally, I think the idea of the Pope thinking he is, people thinking he is, the spokesperson for God on this planet is ludicrous. Imagine Jesus dressing like the Pope dresses. Imagine Jesus running a corporation like the Pope runs. Imagine Jesus hanging on to all that loot the Vatican stole, acquired, was given down through the centuries. Imagine Jesus making priests be celibate. Imagine Jesus not allowing women priests after he ordained Mary Magdalene his first minister of the Gospel on the third day outside the tomb. Imagine Jesus putting up with racial, ethnic, or sexual discrimination. Imagine Jesus appointing a woman pope. Imagine Jesus accepting that throne. How far the Vatican has fallen from Jesus. How far. However, I imagine in God’s eyes, we all are convicts.