Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Friday, April 5, 2013
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Gentile discipline case dropped

The School District on Wednesday signed off on an agreement that ends an administrative dispute with its outgoing Director of Finance and Performance, Ken Gentile.

"We have reached a settlement agreement with Mr. Gentile, and he has agreed to release any claims that he might have had against the district," Superintendent of Schools Mark Porter said. "The ultimate purpose was to avoid the additional cost and effort of a [Florida Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH)] action."

On Thursday, Porter emailed a copy of the April 3 agreement to The Citizen.

It reads, in part, that "any misrepresentation made by Mr. Gentile was done without knowledge of the difference between Florida and New York law regarding the use of the title of CPA and that Mr. Gentile did not engage in work requiring a CPA license. As a result, the decision of Oct. 23, 2012 to discipline Mr. Gentile is withdrawn."

In return, "Gentile agrees to dismiss the DOAH appeal, with both parties to bear their own fees and costs."

The agreement brings down the curtain on the issue, which began when Gentile was accused of burnishing his credentials on his application for employment with the district.

Last fall, Porter meted out a five-day suspension, which Gentile appealed to DOAH. Ultimately, Gentile served his suspension in late December, but the case has dragged on for months, with at least one postponement granted. A final hearing via video teleconference had been set for 9 a.m. April 10.

However, in early March, Porter announced that Gentile's contract would not be renewed, making the DOAH case something of a moot point.

Wednesday's agreement clears the way for Gentile to retire from the district on April 18, with the suspension removed from his employment record.

Gentile on Wednesday claimed he hasn't yet seen the agreement, but confirmed that he and the district had been "going back and forth trying to get a resolution. I think we've been close to a deal for weeks and months," he said.

On Monday, Gentile attended his final meeting of the district's Audit and Finance Committee, where the possible deal came up.

"I mentioned that it was my last meeting, and that I hold no ill will towards anyone," Gentile said.

In an email Thursday, Gentile wrote: "I can only hope that this puts some closure to an unfortunate process where God's forgiveness, grace and love abound. Please continue to keep the superintendent lifted in prayer."

tschmida@keysnews.com

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