The ongoing saga in our school system brings Nepotism up in today’s Key West Citizen. Apparently it’s pretty strong in our school system. There seem to be arguments pro and con. I suppose what we are all struggling to come to grips with now is a pretty strong con.
My father’s company had a strong policy against husbands and wives working for the company. The one exception went back for decades and probably was inherited when my father’s father and his brother-in-law purchased the company from its founders just after World War II. That husband and wife were allowed to remain in the company. I was hired, even though it was my father’s company. We had one pair of brothers working there, out of the Birmingham operation, but I was the only person in management who had a relative in the company, and every penny I spent on marketing and advertising was strictly monitored after first being approved by higher management. Golden Flake had a very, very tight internal accounting and record keeping department. So tight, that when the company comptroller decided he wanted to marry his secretary, she quit working for the company.
Another somber issue raised in today’s Citizen piece is State Attorney Dennis Ward’s doubt that School Superintendent Randy Acevedo was completely unaware of what his wife Monique was doing. I also find it hard to believe Randy was totally in the dark. But perhaps he was. Even so, given what he now has seen brought forward, perhaps the most damning and glaring being identical amounts spent for school functions and his campaign to be reelected last year, I can’t help but wonder what he now is thinking? How does he convince himself that he can do his job impartially? How can he deal with the School Board, who are charged with the public trust of getting to the bottom of this? How can he face students and staff, and expect them to look up to him, believe he’s looking out for their best interests? Randy’s problem is not with the School Board, it’s with his wife and, I imagine, with himself. Does he really expect anyone, except perhaps the people to whom he’s closest, to believe he is blameless in this truly terrible situation? Does he really believe he can do his job effectively while all of this is nipping at his and Monique’s heels, legs, hindquarters and above, which might end up in convictions and 30 year prison sentences? Take a paid leave of absence, Randy. Put your attention, time and energy into your family.
Let me change the facts a bit. What if, instead of working for our school system, Monique had worked for Key West developer Ed Swift? What if instead of being charged with embezzling, misappropriating, stealing $180,000, more or less, from the school system, Monique was charged with doing that to Ed Swift’s company. Would the community be in an uproar over that? Would the public feel it had been betrayed? Would the State Attorney see that case in the same light as the case we now are reading about ongoing in the Citizen? It’s one thing to rip off a private company. It’s quite another to rip off a school system. The fiduciary responsibility to the students and staff and the citizenry putting up taxpayer dollars, their own money, is far higher for school officials, than it is for private citizens working for private companies. The maximum legal penalties for ripping off a company or a school might be the same, but the severity of the sentence on conviction is influenced by the damage suffered by society. Ripping off Ed Swift is serious, but ripping off a school system is more than serious; it is grave, and it needs to be dealt with accordingly, if that is what really happened.
Sloan Bashinsky, citizen