Florida Keys News
Friday, August 29, 2014
FKAA hires Acevedo as tech

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority has hired former Monroe County Schools Superintendent Randy Acevedo as a computer tech, more than four years after the ousted elected official began applying at the public utility.

Acevedo was hired Aug. 20 at an annual salary of $45,379, a utility spokesperson said Thursday. Paul Cales, assistant manager of technical services, is Acevedo's supervisor.

Removed from elected office by the governor and convicted of official misconduct in 2009, Acevedo had been working in the electronics department at Sears in Key West while applying for various jobs at FKAA without any luck.

FKAA first accepted Acevedo's resume for a top information technology job in February 2010.

Acevedo listed his reason for leaving the school district in June 2009 -- where he had worked since 1993 -- as "arrested for official misconduct." On the same line, he added that he was appealing the case, though Acevedo subsequently lost an appeal in March 2011.

In all, Acevedo submitted five separate applications to the utility, according to Executive Office Coordinator Elvira Sawyer. Two of those listed as a reference Brian Barroso, who is on the FKAA's board of directors, she said Thursday.

In August 2012, Acevedo applied for two different jobs -- a nonunion job that starts at $71,191, and wastewater treatment plant operator, a union job that starts at $43,161.

On July 12, 2012, Acevedo added a new reference to his application: Barroso.

In addition to Barroso, Acevedo also had support from friends, including former superintendent Michael Lannon.

"Mr. Randy Acevedo is courageous, tackling the tasks asked of him within the constructs of the organization," wrote Lannon, who has known Acevedo for 20 years, in a March 4, 2010, letter to the aqueduct authority.

"He is really good at what you need done; he is local and he cares," wrote Lannon.

Acevedo did not return a cell phone message left Thursday.

Kirk Zuelch, the utility's executive director, couldn't be reached Thursday evening. His cell phone was not accepting messages.

Acevedo's application in 2012 still listed as his wife, Monique Acevedo, who in September 2010 pleaded guilty to embezzling $415,000 from the school district while she was an administrator, hired by her then-superintendent husband.

She was sentenced to eight years in state prison, having pleaded guilty a year after a jury convicted her husband on three counts of official misconduct for trying to cover up her crimes.

The two have since divorced.

His three years of probation ended Sept. 16, 2012.

In Florida, only a governor's pardon can remove a felony conviction from one's record.

Federal law allows employers to screen applicants who were convicted of a crime on a case-by-case basis, yet the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has strict guidelines on exactly how employers may weigh a job applicant's criminal record.

Voters in 2010 relinquished the power to elect a superintendent, handing the job of selecting one over to the five-member school board, which in 2012 hired Mark Porter as a permanent schools chief, rejecting the governor's appointment of Jesus Jara, who had also applied for the job.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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