Alternative Dispute Resolution

Fla. School Bd. Tells Warring Supt. & Bd. Attorney: Get Help

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A school board for a major metropolitan area in Florida has reportedly told its two top employees to get professional help.

With Superintendent Clayton Wilcox and attorney Jim Robinson, who serves as the district’s general counsel, in a virtual civil war, something clearly has to be done to get the two men working together more effectively. So a “surly” school board agreed Monday that the two men should find a volunteer mediator to help them resolve their professional differences, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

The two men admit they have clashed for some time over a number of issues. However, the current dispute came to a head after they traded e-mails about how the school district should respond to police investigations and arrests on public school property, the newspaper reports. Robinson criticized the superintendent for not consulting him about the issue, and Wilcox said in response that he would rely as much as possible on other school district attorneys because he lacks confidence in Robinson and questions his competence.

As a result, Robinson proposed bringing in a facilitator to talk with him and the superintendent and asked the school board to step in, the Times writes.

“I did not do it to be a troublemaker but to bring to the board’s attention to a matter that I felt the board needed to be aware of,” Robinson said at the meeting. “All I seek now is not to fix blame, but what I seek is a fix.”

Wilcox agreed to the facilitator proposal in “an angry tone,” the Times says, but complained that his side of the story wasn’t being heard.

“I’ve listened to the board make a decision without ever asking me a question on whether I agreed with any of what Mr. Robinson said to you,” he stated. “And, quite honestly, I don’t agree with what Mr. Robinson said to you. I think he misled the board on a number of occasions, and I will make that very public very shortly, and then we’ll facilitate the relationship.”

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