Florida Commission on Human Relations finds “Unlawful Practice” with Termination of Leon School Board Director of Maintenance

Florida Commission on Human Relations finds “Unlawful Practice” with Termination of Leon School Board Director of Maintenance

An investigation by the Florida Commission on Human Relations into the termination of Stephen Shelton by the School Board of Leon County concluded that the School Board’s “stated legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for its employment decision are pretextual. Therefore, the charge of unlawful age discrimination is found to meritorious.”

Pretextual generally refers to a reason for an action which is false, and offered to cover up true motives or intentions.

The complainant, Shelton, alleged that School Board’s newly elected Superintendent, Rocky Hanna, discriminated against him by not renewing his employment contract based on age and in retaliation for his friendship and support of former Superintendent Jackie Pons. Mr. Shelton was Director of Maintenance.

The School Board denied the retaliation charge and the allegation was not addressed in the investigation due to the Commission’s lack of jurisdiction.

The School Board stated that Shelton’s contract was not renewed because he did not meet expectations as a leader and a manager.

However, Shelton rebutted these argument by stating that his performance evaluations during his 10-year employment met or exceeded expectations.

Records show that Shelton received an “Exceeded Expectations” for “supervisory behavior” for the 2015-16 school year.

Also, his  direct supervisor, Mr. Youngblood wrote that Shelton’s “knowledge, experience and professional commitment stands out” in providing the “best support service possible.”

Mr. Youngblood also stated he had not been consulted or advised about Shelton’s termination and that he had high regards for Shelton’s performance as the Director of Maintenance.

After an investigation, the Florida Commission on Human Relations notified the School Board and Mr. Shelton on August 24th, 2018 that  “there is reasonable cause to believe that an unlawful practice occurred.”

Mr. Shelton has 35 days from the date of the letter to request a hearing with the Division of Administrative Hearings and has one year to file a civil action in the court of law.

TR has contacted the Leon School Board and will update the story when warranted.

40 Responses to "Florida Commission on Human Relations finds “Unlawful Practice” with Termination of Leon School Board Director of Maintenance"

  1. Once again the Tally Demo refuses to challenge Hanna when he said ..”When people file frivolous lawsuits against our school system in an attempt to take money away from our classrooms and our school children, I take it very seriously” Hey Rocky you did not seem to mind when your notebook cost the district over $600,000! You did not seem to mind when you demoted/moved out Assistant Superintendent Crowe to promoted Gillian Gregory without an interview and paid both high salaries for the remainder of the year. Somebody please fact check Hanna.

  2. Truthslayer,
    All contracts were/ARE approved by the school board attorney prior to a vote by the board. This is a fact that Rocky Hanna left out of his notebook. The Superintendent brings items to the board via the school board attorney. Mad about contracts? Call the former school board attorney who approved each item before the vote.

  3. After reading the comments on this page you can see who actually worked under Mr. Shelton and those who are just his friends coming to defend him! I can vouch for the fact that Mr. Shelton was a less than savory person to work under, that is unless he liked you or knew your family. If you were old school Tallahassee people and were connected, he found a way to look the other way if things went badly. There were plenty of times he had the opportunity to fix problems that were brought to him but the majority of the time was spent finding ways to sweep issues under the rug. That’s the thing about integrity, it’s doing the right thing even when no one is watching. Do the right thing even though it might not be the popular thing. A smear or saying something untrue is wrong, but if you speak THE TRUTH and it hurts, maybe it was supposed to. THAT is the issue here. Mr. Shelton got embarrassed by being let go, so now he is doing what comes so naturally and is popular. Karma is a powerful thing. Watch out.

    1. So Mr. Truthsayer,
      Where is the documentation to back up your accusations? Did you send this information to a supervisor? If no paper trail exists stop your acqusations. Documentation and evidence is needed. Based upon the evidence the Commission ruled in favor of Mr. Shelton. You and Mr. Hanna may not agree with the conclusion but the facts are Mr. Hanna did not establish a reason for dismissal.

      1. What supervisor could you report it to, JACKIE? Right? You are blind or don’t want to see the truth about things! I have nothing to gain by telling the TRUTH! I know people that filed grievances and were given the political two-step BS! It’s all sad that no one did anything about these grievances until Rocky stepped in. Sure, he may have had political motivation to get that position, but Steve Shelton was a less than effective leader that took care of his buddies and himself. Sorry, but the truth only hurts if it supposed to.

        Just remember, it has to be false statements to be libel or slander. If it’s THE TRUTH it’s not!

        1. You have nothing in writing, nothing. People who make false claims usually mention Rocky Hanna, who self admitted his false claims cost the school district over $600,000 when he falsified information to state and federal authorities. Leon County has a process to handle complaints. You may not have liked it but you did not follow it nor did Hanna. Everyone that cannot follow guidelines can justify why they cannot. Ask Rocky…he can justify why he did not pay child support or why he dated teachers he supervised. Why he turned down a charter application..now the board can pay the attorney fees to the charter school who prevailed….for Hanna’s wrong decision

          Stop hurling accusations. The committee already found Hanna did not follow the correct procedure. Time to have the attorneys hold Hanna accountable.

  4. You have to love the Tallahassee Democrat who printed this from Rocky Hanna “I am not a vindictive person”.

    Okay Rocky, eluding child support for 10 years, not vindictive? How about falsifying information to dirty up the former superintendent, not vindictive? Transferring with a monetary settlement the teacher who called off the relationship, not vindictive? Hey Rocky, I’m pretty sure there was an assistant superintendent before you named Ms.Gregory, by the way you had to give Gregory a different title because the person you put back in the school was still being paid his salary until you reduced it by a substantial amount.

    The Tallahassee reports is the only news outlet in Tallahassee that challenges the wild unsubstantiated claims of Rocky Hanna.

  5. I find it interesting that there is always an empty desk at the district when someone gets in trouble. Employees will tell you they are twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do.

  6. (My Opinion) Mr. Shelton got meets or exceeds because he was best buddies with former superintendent Pons. Mr. Shelton got put into the director position with out interview with out qualifications solely based on his relationship with Pons once he took over maintenance he proceeded to make life miserable for many employees priding himself on the fact that it was his job to run the unwanted off. He made my life miserable I filed a grievance. it took many months but I was moved out from under Mr. Shelton’s chain of command (we both signed documents to leave the past in the past) Mr.Shelton did not do this he continued to make my life miserable (plenty of folks actually) I had to file a second grievance still Mr. Shelton kept his job. It was only when Mr. Hanna took over that Mr. Shelton was let go. the fact that Mr. Shelton is now crying about how he was treated brings a little smile to my face. Welcome to the club Steve!!!. all things considered I’m sure he will get paid (just shows how messed up this world is). Make people miserable for years lose your protection (get fired for being a bad manager) cry foul get paid. Yup sounds about right!!!!

    1. Your smear comments about Mr. Shelton are similar to Mr. Hanna’s assertions with his notebook…misdirect attention from your own issues.

      Mr. Youngblood his supervisor, provided testimony that was believed by the commission. You assertions are not substantiated by the record. Let us all deal with facts. The fact is the commission sided with Mr. Shelton. You may not like the facts.

      The fact is Rocky Hanna lied to federal and state authorities with his notebook (self admitted to Hank Coxe) and the commission found Rocky Hanna handled this firing with malice toward Mr. Shelton. If we agree on anything it should be that based upon the facts Rocky Hanna should be suspended by the Governor and investigated.

      1. Smear LOL did you work there for 10 years subject to the harassment and ridicule of Mr. Shelton Just because one Pons buddies says another one of Pons buddies (Shelton) was a good guy don’t make it a fact. Here’s a fact finding mission for you find out how many people filed grevinces against Mr. Shelton while he was director or better yet go ask the workers since most all are job scared and wouldn’t want the added hassle of an official grievance. You should really be carful asking for things that are part of the record cus some one may provide it just the facts please ma’am

      2. Let me tell you about Mr. Shelton. Mark, you are drinking the kool aid that the old school LCSB has been feeding you. You must be in that good ol boys club. What I saw during my tenure with LCSB Maintenance was a man that spent his time trying to hide the problems that were going on rather than fix them. I am talking about a person that said, “You serve at the pleasure of Jackie Pons.” Actinglike Jackie Pons walked on water and was the Saviour himself. I am talking about a guy that I saw smear people publicly, insult people publicly, put LCSB GAS IN HIS PERSONAL VEHICLE, and numerous other despicable things. So, please stop with the defense of the OBVIOUSLY proper firing of this guy!

  7. MiMi,, this wasn’t “captured in his employment record” because complaints were ignored by Jackie Pons because Steve is his friend, which is why Steve got the job in the first place. He was not hired for his experience or qualifications. And Libby, a former employee’s first hand knowledge of Steve’s incompetence is certainly more founded than the findings of the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Those findings are based on Steve’s side of the story and a cursory “investigation” of the facts as provided by Steve.

    1. X you don’t get it and oh by the way you just confirmed the retaliation in your comment. If Rocky wanted him fired, he had to follow the rules and get whatever needed to document it. That’s why there are rules. How much taxpayer money is going to the lawyers over this? All because Rocky didn’t follow the rules when he fired his political enemy’s friend. Also, an anonymous post about this person’s “incompetence” in no way competes against a FCHS finding.

  8. SF Anonomous – Not trying to be rude but, you don’t have enough time in the county to comment on things that you don’t entirely know about; there is so much history here that you don’t have a clue about… The origin of Rocky’s vendetta has roots in the previous decade, long before you arrived. You did however do a great job deflecting and kissing up, maybe you will get that promotion or pay raise you are obviously working toward.

    Fraud Hanna is a wolf in sheeps clothing, he has been a HUGE disappointment! I really hope Jackie Pons runs again in 2020. Jackie was cleared of all the lies created by Fraud Hanna when he submitted a notebook of fabrications to the FBI. Jackie will win if he decides to run, people know now that Fraud Hanna will, lie and cheat to get ahead and is not to be trusted or believed.

    Rocky ran on the mantra of “change” but, the only changes he made were to benefit himself and his cronies. In fact, some of his assistants brag about how hard it is for them to choose to retire, even though they know they should, and are past 35 years, when their pay is so outrageously high & hard to give up!

    LCS is nothing but a corrupt, broken, and antiquated system of good ‘ole boys that care more about their status and salaries than they do about students or parents.

    Fraud Hanna needs to go, November 2020 can’t come soon enough!

    1. So you need more time in the system to make an observation? Some people that worked under Mr. Shelton were quite intelligent and picked up on his bad habits REAL FAST! Tell me again how much time you have to work in the LCSB system to be able to realize corruption and favortism and nepotism and theft and a plethora of other infractions?

      Or is it you have to be in the “gang” long enough to realize the first rule of LCSB club is… YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT LCSB CLUB!

      Yeah… I would love to see your snappy comeback for that!

        1. I would say Spell check for one! Who’s to say he lied or cheated. it’s not like he put out really personal family matters on TV? But that’s OK isn’t it. Mud slinging about someone’s private family matters. You want to talk about facts and not conjecture or rumors, deal in facts not some speculation about lying (correct spelling)!

          I also notice you don’t have any retort to my comment on the “LCSB CLUB”, probably because you know it’s true or you are a member!

  9. So you do not think a notebook full of false statements and unsupported assumptions ignoring appropriate channels and given directly to the FBI to discredit Pons while Hanna ran against him does not qualify as a Personal political vendetta? I noticed you signed your statement anonymous. Is your real name Rocky Hannah? Or just one of his close lackeys?

  10. As a former employee under the direction of Steve Shelton I can attest that Steve ran the department as a bully and ran off a lot of good people and forced a lot of good people to retire due to his ways of management the way he talked about people behind their back was atrocious

    1. Then why wasn’t that captured in his employment records? Even if its true, a competent leader would make sure it is properly documented before firing him if for no other reason than liability purposes. For now, all we know is that he exceeded expectations and that his boss thought highly of him. Its not nice to come online and anonymously disparage someone who lost their job. Its pretty mean actually.

    2. I completely agree! Steve Shelton was 100% a bully and ran SO many good employees off and promoted SO many horrible employees!

    3. Steve Shelton was an abusive director!! He would tell us employees (it’s good to have a job) well Steve how’s that working for you !! Ronnie Youngblood was one of Jackie pons boys so yes Steve would get good evaluations!!! Steve also had a relationship with his senior account and right before he left he gave her a big raise !! Steve would harass the employees about there weight all the time and think it was funny !!!! He ran employees off and not replace them so the rest of us had more work to do and Steve would say ( you are over paid and under worked ) he even hired his own son !! Hell Ronnie Youngblood hired his own family to work there!!

  11. Look, I currently work for LCS. Hired under Pons, now work for Superintendent Hanna(SH). I think everyone commenting on here has the vendetta. I work closely with SH and have no political agenda. SH is a very genuine person who sincerely wants the very best for everyone his decisions effect. He gives every chance possible before ending careers. Honestly, most administrations clean house when newly elected and rightfully so. As I have personally seen, many that he should have let go, but his good heart wouldn’t let him, have caused nothing but trouble for the current administration. If you want to point out people who were promoted, where is Dr. Michelle Gayle in your list? What about the principal of Nims, who our superintendent gave a second chance because he believes in giving second chances despite concern for his own political career. Writers, you can’t pick and choose the examples you present and be taken seriously! I hope no one pays any heed to these comments on here! Leon County made the, hands down, best decision when SH was elected. Vendetta?? Everyone commenting on this site, has the vendetta, NOT our superintendent who is trying his best, day and night, to fix the years of neglect across this district. I have absolutely no political motivation here, didn’t even move to this town until 2013, I only feel the need to defend one of the most genuine individuals who I have come to know, Superintendent Rocky Hanna.
    On a side note, I’ve also never seen anyone who works harder than Gillian Gregory. She works hard, to a fault. Clearly, these comments are from people who have no idea what they are saying, only some agenda to smear. Sour grapes!

    1. The notebook that Rocky Hanna compiled filled with what he knew to be false and misleading information circulated to 25 agencies with the help of an attorney is a proven vendetta. As for you assertion of Ms. Gregory, 10 schools drop a letter grade, 4 D schools and an F rated school. Outcomes are facts for Gregory, Kraul and Cox.

      I for one have no vendetta, but I do accept the facts. Rocky Hanna dated teachers he evaluated (fact), he admitted he no knowledge of any wrongdoing but put together innuendo to start an FBI investigation (fact), he avoided child support for 10 years until sued (fact). He promoted and demoted people enriching those he likes without interviews (fact) while demoting others and nonrenewing others based upon political vendettas (fact), you call it cleaning house, while an attorney would call it illegal political payback.

      Smear is what Rocky Hanna did with his notebook. Facts, deal in facts!

    2. I think part of the problem is that Hanna and his group are tone deaf, lack empathy and don’t realize how many people they have damaged. People aren’t all on here for vendettas, though some may be. Many are here because they or their children have been hurt by Hanna’s actions and the actions of his staff who he lets run rampant. People talking about Rocky come from all walks of life and are not all employees. Take these comments and stories for what they are, information, and then make up your own mind.

    3. You haven’t worked for the district long enough to know what is really going on. Sounds like you are working to get that raise from Rocky.

  12. I hope this opens the floodgates of lawsuits to bring to justice those who have been wronged by Rocky and his political vendettas. From having his childhood friend, who himself is a school-based administrator, call school and district administrators to threaten them if Rocky won he’d remember if they didn’t change allegiance to him. All of this will come out when people are subpoenaed and have to provide affidavits under oath. The truth of what Rocky Hanna has done to several employees in the school system and those who knew about it, allowed it to happen and still continue to cover it up, well let’s just say it’ll be more than a basket of dirty laundry it will be a laundry list that the citizens of Tallahassee will remember when they go to the polls. Making the calls that were made to school and District administrators is also against the law during an election. threatening them with retaliation.

    1. So what’s the difference between RH getting rid of the RIFF RAFF and Jackie Pons doing the same thing? You make it sound like Jackie Pons rode in on a white horse and did no wrong! You must have been in the Jackie Pons support club and getting some kick backs. Are you one of the ones that benefited from the convenient 1.9999 million dollar contracts that didn’t need to go through the vetting process?

  13. The answer is simple. There are three rules: you had to vote for him, follow his rule book and adher to his sex manual. Do this and your job is secure.

  14. Funny how this gentleman was let go and yet Rocky Hanna decided to keep David Solz on the payroll. Same pay, same benefits just shuffled to an administrative job, despite proof of him using the elementary school as his personal hook-up zone, amongst other things. Seems like there is a double standard at the county, seeing how another principal accused of impropriety had to resign. Inquiring minds would like to know why certain individuals get to keep their jobs, while others are pushed out for seemingly lesser offenses.

    1. David Solz is a buddy to DJ Wright. DJ Wright retired, went through DROP is back employed at the request of Gillian Gregory. It all comes back to political payback. Jo Marie Olk, DJ Wright all buddies of Gillian Gregory. Look at her lunch bunch..see who got promotions …good ole cronyism at work in Leon Schools.

    2. Mary, I think that David knows a great deal of things that would be embarrassing to LCS. There were some pretty rough things reported when this blew up and some people with information were routed through PR who then supposedly informed Rocky. I wonder if this helped avoid some of the rules that certified teachers and administrators are subject to with regard to reporting. Its just speculation, but it is weird. Everything happens for a reason.

  15. Sounds exactly like what the local rag, under control of the ruthless hatchet-man Bob Gabordi, did to every single newsroom employee over 50.

  16. Mr. Hanna put together a notebook filled with innuendo and misinformation to discredit the former Superintendent. As soon as he could Mr. Hanna dismissed several employees who had excellent evaluations but were not rehired due to political vendettas by Mr. Hanna. I am sorry that Mr. Hanna caused this action to Mr. Shelton. Mr. Shelton, I hope that others will follow you and file suit against Mr. Hanna.

    Let’s not forget that Rocky Hanna promoted as soon as could without interviews Gillian Gregory, Allen Cox, Sue Kraul, Kathleen Rodgers and Shelly Bell.

    Look at the employees that were demoted or not rehired by Mr. Hanna and then look at his self appointed political appointees. Lives and families were destroyed by Mr. Hanna and his political vendetta.

    1. One would think Mr. Hanna or the school board attorney would contact everyone who Mr. Hanna nonrenewed who was in a leadership or department leadership position, quickly settle these political vendettas that everyone within the school system is aware of before the affidavits start becoming public. Sooner or later all of the skeletons will be brought to life, the result will be the ugly truth becoming public for everyone to fully understand the depths of vendettas that Mr. Hanna took out on hard working employees.

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