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Ex-superintendent’s appeal forces Hernando school board to ask itself: Was it right to fire her?

Oct 4, 2018 by

Ousted Hernando County schools superintendent Lori Romano returned Wednesday morning to the school district office, this time for an appeal on her firing in June. Her attorney demanded the school board rescind the firing, while the board’s outside attorney argued the board had more than enough cause to fire Romano.

In a wrinkle that could happen only with the firing of a superintendent, the school board played dual roles. Its members voted, 3-2, to fire Romano on June 12. Now, they’ll judge whether they had cause to do so.

Board attorney Dennis Alfonso called it “a unique circumstance.” Tammie Rattray, the lawyer representing the board for the Romano hearing, deemed it “a little bit of an unusual process.”

Wednesday morning’s arguments unfolded in brisk fashion. Alfonso, who did not argue on the board’s behalf, said he’d helped both sides agree on the process, wherein the attorneys summarized their points and gave the board thick binders of documents to review. At the crux of both sides’ arguments were points the board laid out in its letter terminating Romano.

Romano’s employment contract stipulated she could be fired for “misfeasance, malfeasance or corruption in office, incompetency, insubordination, immorality, breach of contract, material breach” or violation of any law.

If the board proves Romano did any of those things, she could have to pay up to $25,000 in damages. The money would fund a search for a new superintendent, if the board opts to conduct a search rather than stick with interim superintendent John Stratton.

Source: Ex-superintendent’s appeal forces Hernando school board to ask itself: Was it right to fire her? | tbo.com

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