Cheers to Manatee County school district for tough, thorough investigator

February 1, 2014 

Troy Pumphrey

Some members of this community would rather the Manatee County school district play preferential politics instead of doggedly investigating reports of policy violations, ethical lapses and other accusations of wrongdoing. But Superintendent Rick Mills hired a veteran law enforcement detective to replace an educator and insider in the role of looking into alleged breaches of professional standards and even criminal conduct.

Less than a year on the job, Troy Pumphrey, the district's investigator and director of professional standards, spoke at this week's Manatee Forum of Republican Women Federated and earned an enthusiastic response. Deservedly so.

It's about time the school district quit coddling and excusing employees who violate the public's trust, and Pumphrey has so far shown he'll brook no nonsense. His lengthy, detailed investigative reports into a host of allegations prove his skills. Whether or not some of those reports hold up to legal system requirements remains to be determined, but the district is clearly on a rigorous enforcement path.

Retired from the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., Pumphrey holds experience investigating organized crime, public corruption, financial and narcotics crimes, and he's worked with top federal law agencies.

That -- and his school district probes to date -- should serve as fair warning that this administration will no longer look the other way with misdeeds. Like the forum audience, we -- and, we hope, the general public -- should be grateful that professional standards will be upheld.

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