President of Sarasota Teachers Union calls Superintendent White’s bluff — sends out another ‘political email’

PUBLISHERS NOTE: I, Dr. Rich Swier, regret having used the term “illegal” in this and any other article to describe actions by Ms. Pat Gardner and the SC/TA.

Superintendent Lori White has been called out by the Sarasota Teacher/Classified Association (SC/TA) President Pat Gardner. Who will prevail? Many are calling this a direct challenge to Superintendent White’s leadership as the district Chief-Education-Officer.

As we reported SC/TA President Patricia “Pat” Gardner and SC/TA Treasurer Kevyn Fitzgerald, the union representative at Riverview High School, have been using the district official email service to repeatedly send out political and harassing messages to all district employees in violation of District policy. Superintendent White’s staff admitted that:

Outside of the SC/TA’s ability to communicate with the employees, you [Dr. Rich Swier] are correct that our procedures state that the district email system is not to be used for, among other things, political campaigning.

Superintendent White then sent a reminder to all employees of this prohibition. The reminder stated:

As our community is in the midst of a number of political campaigns, I want to remind all employees about the School Board’s Information Technology Guidelines and Procedures which prohibit, among other things, using the School Board’s email system for any communication that may be perceived as political campaigning. While I encourage all our employees to be civically engaged in the electoral process, this engagement should not occur on work hours, nor should the School Board’s email system be used for this purpose.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Photo of Pat Gardner from SC/TA website.

Gardner has ignored Superintendent White’s reminder. Gardner and Fitzgerald sent out the following message in direct violation of School Board policy:

From: Fitzgerald Kevyn
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2014 2:14 PM
Subject: FW: Newlsletter – Info for Restricted Class

From: Gardner Pat
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2014 1:50 PM
Subject: Newlsletter – Info for Restricted Class

Please forward:

They’re running scared and starting to play dirty. I’m on the blogs today with a story that I’m doing illegal things by sending out email to my members. They used a picture of me from 12 years ago, so I’m feeling pretty good about that. Here I go again:

Get those absentee ballots in as soon as possible.

Our endorsed candidates are:

Charlie Crist – Governor
Ken Marsh – School Board District 1

Our suggested candidate is George Sheldon for Attorney General.

NO on Amendment 3.

We will be getting Ken Marsh signs in the office and will deliver them if you would like them or feel free to pick them up. Let us know if you would like any. Ken Marsh will be doing sign waving and I will try to send out his schedule if you would like to join them.

Have a great day.


What will Superintendent White do now?

We have sent a request to Superintendent White and have not received a response as of the posting of this column.

This is a test of Superintendent White’s leadership and her staff’s ability to enforce school board policy equally upon all district employees.

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