James Drake is the Monroe County School Districts new finance director following a 4-1 vote by the School Board Tuesday evening. But, as promised, board member Ed Davidson criticized Superintendent Mark Porters selection and hiring process.
Drake came to Monroe County in April to replace the ousted former Finance Director Ken Gentile.
His new contract, valid until June 30 next year, is worth $91,004; his four-and-a-half month interim deal was worth $47,040.
Davidson said Porters selection process -- conducted largely this month -- caused the School District to miss out on a number of potential applicants who took other education jobs that began in June and July ahead of the August start of the school year.
This is not a thorough search, Davidson said. I dont think this was a valid search at all. I find that problematic.
He called it a scam and a charade.
Without going into detail, Porter responded, We did go through with a thorough process in this regard. I believe it was a proper process, a well-conducted process.
As Davidson continued his criticisms, board Chairman Andy Griffiths cut him off, albeit temporarily.
I just counted four votes, Griffiths told Davidson. Youre basically beating up someone who is going to be our future team member. Thats not appropriate.
Youre making a big mistake, Davidson said.
If he fails, board member John Dick said, its a reflection on Mr. Porter. Thats the leverage we do have. I personally think [Davidson] was right about this process.
Porter made his recommendation to the School Board in a meeting at Coral Shores High School in Tavernier Tuesday night.
Drake formerly served as assistant superintendent of business services for the Manatee county School District and, before that, for 22 years with the Florida Auditor Generals Office specializing in school district audits.
The measure passed 4-1 with Davidson dissenting.