Alva Striplin Asks for Policy Discussion on Personal Relationships, Nepotism at Next School Board Meeting

Alva Striplin Asks for Policy Discussion on Personal Relationships, Nepotism at Next School Board Meeting

Leon County School Board member Alva Striplin has told Tallahassee Reports she has requested the issue of personal relationships and nepotism be added to the agenda for the next school board meeting. The meeting is scheduled for July 24th, 2018.

School board members are afforded the opportunity to introduce topics for discussion during school board meetings.

“I asked the appropriate school board officials to include the topic on the agenda for the next meeting,” said Striplin.

Striplin’s actions come one day after Gilchrist Elementary principal David Solz was put on administrative leave following a Tallahassee Reports story detailing an improper relationship between Solz and a married teacher he supervises.

Other relationships among employees within the school district have also surfaced over the last year.

Striplin told TR she wants to initiate a policy discussion on how personal relationships and nepotism can impact people working in the school district.  Striplin said,  “I feel it is time we address this issue so that there is no allusion of preferential treatment within our school communities.”

Currently, sexual relationships between teachers and school administrators are not prohibited by school policy but are against the district’s code of ethics.

Striplin has represented School Board District 1 since her election on August 26, 2014.

17 Responses to "Alva Striplin Asks for Policy Discussion on Personal Relationships, Nepotism at Next School Board Meeting"

  1. alex   July 20, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    I commend this Board member for taking this action. The school district needs this discussion. I urge the Board members to begin with themselves. Each of them need to look into the camera and proclaim that since they have been elected/employed by LCSB, they have never had a personal relationship with any school board employee or vendor doing business with the school board. I think the city and county commissions need to do the same thing. Good behavior begins at the top. We already know the Supt. answer.

    Reply
    • Thomas C. Hooker   July 23, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      I give her credit for trying (once again) for staying in front of it. From the Democrat 1/22/16:

      “A Leon County School Board member who happens to be dating an attorney whose law firm works for the district must abide by Florida’s gift law.

      That’s what the Florida Commission on Ethics decided Friday, in a unique case involving School Board member Alva Striplin.

      “Far be it for me to say that they should not have a relationship,” said Ethics Commission Vice Chair Matthew Carlucci. “I just think they need to have this relationship under the confines of what this law says. And I wish them the best in their relationship.”

      Striplin asked the Ethics Commission for an advisory opinion involving her relationship with George Smith, whose firm, Bryant Miller Olive, has provided bond counsel to the district for many years. Specifically, Striplin asked whether she would run afoul of the gift law if she and her boyfriend traveled together and split expenses or exchanged Christmas and birthday gifts.

      “I made the decision to go and seek guidance preemptively instead of being accused of violating laws somewhere down the road,” Striplin said in an interview. “At the end of the day, whatever they say, we will abide by.”

      Florida’s gift law bars public officials from soliciting any gift from a vendor or lobbyist doing business with the official’s agency. It also prohibits public officials from accepting any gift from a vendor or lobbyist in excess of $100. And it forbids vendors doing business with the official’s agency from giving gifts to the official over $100. Gifts between $25 and $100 must be publicly disclosed.

      Ethics Commission staff opined that Striplin may not solicit any gift from Smith or his firm and cannot accept any gift from him or his firm over $100. The couple can, however, equally split the cost of travel, meals, lodging or entertainment. Ethics commissioners voted unanimously to affirm the staff opinion.”

      Reply
  2. Janet   July 20, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Let’s hope the discussion includes board members dating staff members in the Leon County school system, Curtis Richardson making $60,000 a year which is more than 1 and 3/4 the amount of a beginning teacher in the district. Looking forward to the open discussion how the assistant superintendent of curriculum instruction gave raises to everyone that she went out to lunch with prior to her getting her job. Looking forward to an open discussion about how Kathleen Rogers was promptly promoted to an assistant superintendent position without an interview, she cleared Rocky Hanna of any wrongdoing dating and having a teacher transferred at Leon High School but now Rocky admits that he did abuse his authority. The public would love to hear the school board members finally have a discussion as they bring up the fact that Rocky admitted to Hank Coxe that he put a notebook together and had no knowledge of any wrongdoing which is a violation of professional practices. Can we hold mr. Hanna accountable for the $600,000 he cost this fool system when he put together the notebook filled with innuendo in friends and outright lies ? The public should be reminded if Mr. Hanna put together a series of false information in a notebook to smear someone what he would do to anyone else that crosses him. Can’t wait until the school board decides to take action and forward a complaint professional practice for ethics violations of Mr. Hanna that are well-documented.

    Can’t wait for the open discussion about how Shelly Bell was promoted after her and her husband assisted Mr. Hanna in the election, with Ricky Bell being brought back to the district after being in retirement. Five assistant superintendents promoted without a discussion.

    This will be a long board meeting.

    Reply
    • Thomas C. Hooker   July 23, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      That is pretty strong stuff. Do tell.

      Reply
  3. Ron   July 21, 2018 at 3:03 am

    Alva did you really say to the Tallahassee Democrat “She has asked staff to make a list of those who would be affected. She said she doesn’t want to jeopardize anyone’s relationship or jobs, but wants to avoid issues in the future. ”
    Have heard of privacy regulations?

    Why not deal with 5 Assistant Superintendents making $100,000 each appointed without interviews? You do not have a policy that requires people to be interviewed to be an Assistant Superintendent? How about Shelly Bell and Sue Kraul promoted without interviews. Might the board discuss the political appointments and non reapointments that Rocky has done in that 16 months without cause.

    Why not deal with Rocky Hanna attempting to frame the former Superintendent?
    Why not deal with the issue you avoided…Rocky Hanna fabricated misinformation to state and federal authorities, your own attorney Hank Coxe provided detailed information to the board that Rocky Hanna did in fact have No Knowledge Of Any Wrongdoing. Wouldn’t it be prudent to show all employees and taxpayers that you will deal with all issues fairly. Rocky continues to get a pass.

    Reply
  4. Major Villum   July 21, 2018 at 8:52 am

    One of the City of Tallahassee’s BIGGEST ETHICAL issues is Nepotism and cronyism. Hiring and promoting minimally to fully unqualified people because of who they are related to.

    There are hundreds of examples. This hurts moral, limits promotion of deserving folks and is fundamentally wrong: Fernandez, Miller, Lowe, Barber, etc.

    NEW MAYOR AND COMMISSIONERS: please follow suit and address this problem. HR knows this and has all the info – as does the (un) Ethics Office.

    Reply
  5. mimi   July 21, 2018 at 9:03 am

    As an observer and voter, I am not fully trusting that Mrs. Striplin’s proposal is for all the right reasons. Probably one of TR’s most commented stories ever was this week and it brought awareness of a huge sexual (and non) harassment problem. Yet the school board and the other paper are describing it simply as a self reported relationship. Its not the same thing. A policy on dating would not have prevented what happened at that school if even half the things written on TR are correct. Is Mrs. Striplin (and Rocky) just trying to help the school board deflect the issue to protect this person? Also Mrs. Striplin is married to a vendor, although she on her own initiative took extensive steps and measures to avoid an appearance or actual conflict of interest. Shouldn’t that apply to everyone? Shouldn’t what she did be policy for all staff and vendors too?

    Reply
  6. Shane   July 22, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Nepotism would that be when Nick Maddox ( yup the guy who is a full-time county Commissioner and heads up full-time the Leon Foundation) and Pam Hightower (who retired after DROP but was brought back making more than $90,000) COLLUDE with the owner/publisher of the supplemental math program Acaletics when Pam pushs school administrators to pay $35,000 per school for math test prep? Hey Acaletics worked really well for Pineview…they are an F.

    Reply
  7. The Beast   July 22, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Alva Striplin requesting a discussion on personal relationships? Am I the only one who remembers she was engaged to an administrator at the Leon County Schools District during her campaign run for School Board Member using his contacts and influence to get endorsements only to dump him as soon she won?

    Alva Striplin = Hypocrisy

    Reply
  8. Mark   July 23, 2018 at 6:57 am

    The hand picked non interviewed Assistant Superintendent, the Elementary Director, and the Director of Lively, Ricky Bell and Pam Hightower retired participated in DROP and brought back are all guilty of accepting positions based upon nepotism since all but one of them except Ricky interviewed so Rocky could send him a message and cut his salary.

    No more nepotism, no more DROP rehires!

    Reply
  9. James   July 23, 2018 at 7:21 am

    Dear self interest driven members of the Leon Cou ty School Board and the ever ego driven Superintendent:
    Nepotism vs Teacher Salary Rather than paying hand picked political payback
    Assistant Superintendents $100,000 each how about paying starting teachers like Manatee district is now offering a starting salary of about $44,400!

    Reply
  10. Billy   July 23, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Hanna campaigned saying no more “fat cats” making over $100,000. Hanna has more self appointed nepotistic Assistant Superintendents making almost triple a beginning teacher salary. Leon County has more Assistant Superintendents than large districts.

    When will the school board raise pertinent issues and hold Hanna accountable?

    Teachers have to interview for a job at $35,000, work to get Rocky elected and you get handed an Assistant Superintendent job, no interview required and get paid $100,000!

    Reply
  11. Mark   July 23, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    When Rocky Hanna says
    “Hanna himself had a brief, consensual relationship with a Leon High teacher during the 2005/2006 school year when he was principal of the school, according to district documents. The relationship came to light in 2015 during the run-up to the 2016 superintendent election. An investigation by the district found no wrongdoing by Hanna.

    “Honestly, I could have benefited from a policy like that,” he said.”

    Hello School Board Members,
    Rocky just again admitted guilt! See something…say something!

    Reply
  12. Art   July 23, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Nepotism is alive and well right under Rocky’s nose and he knows all about it. Naomi Coughlin keeps her family and friends well taken care of and their pockets lined. She just picks and chooses who gets promotions and upgrades. No need for pesky interviews or even to consider other qualified candidates.

    Reply
    • Marion   July 23, 2018 at 11:03 pm

      Amen! This entire district is full of relatives hiring relatives and employee affairs. Needs to be cleaned up starting at the top! Another point of interest is how the district “passes the trash”. Look at Rahming and her right hand man being sent to ACE rather than being disciplined or fired. Just pass these folks around, create jobs for them and keep spending money that could be spent on students.

      Reply
  13. Jim   July 24, 2018 at 9:00 am

    I used to work for the district and I remember the weekly emails Dr Henderson would send out when someone from the district passed away and it would list everyone else in the district the deceased was related to. It has more to do with Leon County Schools being the largest employer in the city, rather than nepotism. You can walk into any office or any LCS school and someone is related to someone else who works at another LCS department or school. There are so many athletic coaches and deans out there who are related to someone at the county departments. There are changes to be made if the jobs aren’t being done or rules arent being followed , but I would be cautious with the accusations hurled around for the hard working people of LCS.

    Reply
  14. Colleen Castille   August 2, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    I’m fed up with all of it. I will not let it ride. Get rid of everyone who is office today – Vote the rascals out!

    Reply

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