OUR SCHOOLS

Watchdog's lawsuit against superintendent dismissed

skinney@keynoter.comSeptember 28, 2013 

A Monroe County Circuit Court judge on Friday quickly dismissed watchdog Larry Murray’s civil suit against the Monroe County School District.

Murray, a Big Pine Key resident and former member of the district’s advisory Audit and Finance Committee, represented himself in the case, in which he alleges the district failed to comply with three public records requests.

Judge David Audlin dismissed the case after an approximately five minute hearing on technical grounds, specifically that Superintendent Mark Porter had not yet received service and further that the district has complied with the records request in the two weeks since the suit was filed.

In the 14-page filing, Murray wrote: "On several occasions in the recent past, the defendants have exhibited similar bad faith in the production of documents, and when the documents were finally revealed, the documents revealed malfeasance or misfeasance.

"It is believed and therefore averred that the failure to produce these readily available requested records is in bad faith and an effort by the defendants to prevent public review of the requested documents." He focuses on three specific requests made to Porter:

* An Aug. 15 request for a draft contract for forensic auditing services, which Murray alleges Porter has never acknowledged.

*An Aug. 16 request for the salary and salary supplements for Christina McPherson, the district's director of assessment and Poinciana Elementary School Principal.

* An Aug. 29 request for a comprehensive list of salary supplements for all district employees. Scott Black of Vernis and Bowling of the Florida Keys represented the district.

After Audlin’s ruling, Murray acknowledged the loss, but said he looks forward to a more responsive records process in the future.

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