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Letter to the Editor: Revenge Politics


Dear Editor,

Mary Cantrell’s campaign seems to be nothing more than an act of vengeance for being fired from her job at MTI.

Mary’s shocking behavior at a recent event was that of a child having a temper tantrum. It was necessary for her husband to remove her from the podium and lead her out. Observing her attitude and behavior, revenge seems to be the only motivation for her bid for the school board.

In the years past, we saw Barbara Harvey and Walter Miller who had been rejected by the then sitting superintendent, campaign and win seats on the Board and then proceed to fire (former superintendent) Dr. Denisar and send the MCSD back into a financial/educational mess. If Cantrell is elected will we have a repeat of this scenario?

Mary Cantrell does not live in Manatee County. She is homesteaded in Pinellas County. She pays taxes in Pinellas County and does not have a record of voting here in Manatee County.

Next, she used the logo for MTI on her campaign signs which is contrary to School Board policy. She has been ordered to cease and desist but have you seen the signs come down yet?

Will a candidate who relies on deception and unethical conduct execute their responsibilities with the same level of integrity?

When asked about allegations by an employee of financial and ethical improprieties at MTI, Mary said that the investigation was over and that the allegations were unfounded. This is not true as the investigation is still open.

Again, when questioned about the financial records at MTI that were deemed “un-auditable” by the internal auditors, Mary stated that the audit was complete and there were no findings. This is not true, the audit is still ongoing.

While Cantrell was in charge of MTI, a new computer system was installed. The staff had no formal training on the new system. Incredibly, they did not run a parallel system. As a result, the Board was not able to get financial reports from MTI for almost a year. A temporary staff was hired to complete the task and last month financial information was finally available. There was $4 million unaccounted for, for almost a year.

There were also problems with the school district credit cards. At MTI, Credit Card purchases did not require purchase orders or pre-authorizations as per district policy.

Mary has quite a controversial following. Attending her speeches is Harry Kinnan, Walter Miller and Larry Simmons. These are the very people who led the district into the financial disaster that the district is now trying to correct. And it appears that another addition to her campaign retinue is Dr. Dale Burroughs, described on the internet as a predatory religionist figure who specializes in crises and disaster. This is the same person who led Katherine Harris' failed campaign.

Mary’s campaign is somewhere between Little Orphan Annie and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

We need people on the board who are examples of integrity, and honesty. We have seen neither in her.

Linda Schaich


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