BRADENTON -- Manatee County School Board Vice Chairman Dave "Watchdog" Miner is asking an agency outside the district to look into professional standards investigator Troy Pumphrey's job application.
On Tuesday, Miner emailed board members saying he was told Monday staff attorney Mitchell Teitelbaum had been asked by Superintendent Rick Mills to conduct an inquiry into the scope of Pumphrey's application.
Instead of having Teitelbaum look into the issue, Miner wants an outside agency to do so. In his email, Miner asks the next board agenda contain his request.
"With all due respect to Mr. Teitelbaum, the office of superintendent, and other members of the administration, it is very important to our community -- in addition to the Board -- that a report be presented that is free of any claims the findings are self-serving to the interests of anyone. Any inhouse investigation is sub
ject to such claims," Miner wrote.
The agenda for the next board meeting scheduled for Jan. 13 is still being formed.
Teitelbaum confirmed Mills asked him in September to look into Pumphrey's application. The inquiry has been concluded, Teitelbaum said Tuesday.
Miner held a news conference in October, calling on Mills to ask Pumphrey for his resignation because Pumphrey lied about holding a Class C/MA license on his resume when he applied to work for the district in July 2013.
Pumphrey has said he included the line in his resume because he believed the license was active when he completed his job application in July 2013. When Pumphrey learned additional materials were needed to finish the application process in early 2014, he did not complete it and was subsequently denied the license. By then he was employed with the district in a job that doesn't require the license.
Pumphrey's updated resume no longer includes the class C/MA license claim.
Miner has repeatedly tried to add an item to the school board agenda concerning Pumphrey's employment status but has been rebuffed by the board's attorneys, Mills and his fellow board members.
In response, Pumphrey has sent a letter to the district claiming damages and demanding a settlement. In return, Pumphrey said he will not sue the district.
The demands include giving Pumphrey $190,400, the equivalent of two years wages and benefits -- because if Pumphrey left the district he'd need a two-year "cooling off" period before he could find another job; having Superintendent Rick Mills write a reference letter for Pumphrey; having the board read a public statement denouncing Miner's actions and confirming Pumphrey's employment with the district is secure; and having the board cover legal costs Pumphrey has incurred because of the issue.
Pumphrey's letter does not say he will not sue Miner as an individual for his comments.
Pumphrey claims Miner damaged his reputation and "hampered his ability to work effectively in the Manatee School District."
Pumphrey claims recent statements Miner made about him are defamatory, false and misleading.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.