Gagnon calls 51 witnesses for administrative hearing

eearl@bradenton.comMarch 19, 2014 

Staff Photographer

Manatee Schools Assistant Superintendent Bob Gagnon, at right, attends Monday night's school board meeting. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

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MANATEE -- Former Manatee High School assistant principal turned assistant district superintendent Robert Gagnon has called 51 witnesses for his administrative hearing in his fight to return to his position with the Manatee County School District.

The witness list was filed with the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings this week.

Witnesses called for the administrative hearing, set for April 21, include former Manatee High assistant principals Greg Faller and Matthew Kane, former investigator

for the office of professional standards Debra Horne, former staff attorney and assistant superintendent Scott Martin and current and former students.

Gagnon, Faller and Kane face criminal charges in the Rod Frazier case, in which the former assistant football coach and parent liaison is accused of inappropriately touching students and faculty. While Martin does not face charges, he resigned after being recommended for termination by the school district in October.

Last month, Gagnon's attorney, Richard Reinhart, filed a motion to dismiss criminal charges against Gagnon for failure to report suspected child abuse.

In October, Gagnon, Faller and Kane were suspended without pay.

Gagnon has also called former Manatee High School athletic director Joseph Kinnan, city councilman Gene Gallo and former school board attorney John Bowen to testify on his behalf.

Kinnan said Tuesday he had "nothing to comment."

Bowen said that he does not foresee Gagnon getting rehired by the school district, but not because of a lack of merit.

"I think the fact of the matter is that the superintendent has made up his mind that that's not going to happen no matter what," Bowen said. "As a practical matter, the chances of him being an assistant principal in this district are just nonexistent as far as current board and administration are concerned. I don't think it has anything to do with his ability, but it totally has to do with the politics of the community and the predeterminations being made, even before the superintendent was hired. For anyone who had anything to do with previous superintendent's administration, their liability with the district was extremely limited, regardless of their abilities or the jobs they were doing."

Calls to Reinhart on Tuesday were not returned.

Kane's administrative hearing is set for April 29 and 30, and Faller's administrative hearing is set for June 3 and 4.

Horne entered a pretrial intervention program last month that allows charges against her to be dropped if she serves 18 months' probation and completes 75 hours of community service. Horne was scheduled to stand trial June 16.

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