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Letter to the Editor: We all Need to Remember


Dear Editor,

In doing my research, and with the help of Richard Jackson’s excellent writings, I have assembled an analysis of how we arrived at our present state of affairs.

Dr. Gene Denisar (1994-2000) came close to getting his arms around the Manatee School District's problems. He understood that we need a credible fiscal operation to maintain the community’s trust; CFO Jim Buckley provided this credibility. Due to old grudges held by Barbara Harvey and Walter Miller, Denisar was fired by board members Chairman Frank Brunner, Harry Kinnan, Larry Simmons, Miller and Harvey, before Denisar could fulfill his vision. 

Hired to calm the waters, Dr. Dan Nolan (2000-03) did not make many personnel changes. He was paternal and widely respected.

Dr. Roger Dearing (2003-09) brought in a secretive style of management, litigious tendencies and a disinterest in student achievement. He promoted Tim McGonegal to CFO and led him into commingling funds, which were supposed to be kept separate.

In 2009, board members Kinnan, Miller, Harvey, Gause and Pfeilsticker hired longtime darling Tim McGonegal to carry on the secretive style of management and reckless funds shuffling. McGonegal had no vision, and spent most of his time doing favors for friends, ignoring audit recommendations and budget questions. Inevitably he left in disgrace. 

Enter Rick Mills who believes in a systematic approach and understands the importance of the big picture. Finding staff positions rooted in cronyism and nepotism, Mr. Mills has faced  enormous challenges in whom to fire, reassign and retain. Progress has been slow but steady.

Two former employees, Mary Cantrell and Frank Brunner, have manufactured makeshift residences in an attempt to get elected to the board. If Harvey and Miller could get elected to settle old scores, why shouldn’t Cantrell and Brunner try?

Surely our voters can see through this charade. Say No to Brunner and Cantrell.

Peggy Martin
Tax Payers Committee 


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