Ex-Manatee schools finance official Jim Drake in line for temporary spot in Monroe County

eearl@bradenton.comApril 7, 2013 

Former Manatee schools assistant superintendent Jim Drake has been tapped to serve as the interim director of finance and planning for the Monroe County school district.

Drake, who served with former superintendent Tim McGonegal, retired early after a $3.4 million budget deficit was disclosed last summer.

Similar to Manatee County, Monroe has seen a lot of changes in leadership within a short time, as three top officials were recently let go, including the director of human resources and the director of operations.

Drake is in line to replace Ken Gentile. Gentile was placed on a five-day suspension last December. Gentile's missteps included using a CPA title without a state license and forcing staff to get on their knees and pray with him.

While coverage of Drake's departure from Manatee County after details of the deficit were have some Monroe County residents concerned, Superintendent Mark Porter seems confident Drake will be fine in this temporary position.

"I feel very assured that he's not merely competent, but highly qualified to address the circumstances here in Monroe County," Porter said told the Key West Citizen newspaper.

Porter has placed approval of Drake's hire on the agenda for the next school board meeting Tuesday in Marathon.

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