School Board Censures Paul, Gindhl Casts Lone Vote Against Motion

January 23, 2008

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Tuesday night, the Escambia County School Board voted 4-1 to censure Superintendent Jim Paul following his drunk driving arrest in Pinellas County back on January 10.

School board member Claudia Brown-Curry made the motion to “express disapproval for the conduct of Superintendent Paul in Pinellas County on July 10″.

Paul was arrested with a blood alcohol level over one and a half times the legal limit while in the Clearwater area attending a technology conference funded by Apple Computer. Paul told NorthEscambia.com in an exclusive interview (pictured above) that he was sorry for he had done, but had no intentions of resigning. You can read the story about Paul’s exclusive conversation with NorthEscambia.com and hear the interview by clicking here.

Prior to the board meeting, several people addressed the board during its public forum and called for Paul to resign or for the board to force his resignation.

“Many of you came forward and said we need to make him resign,” board member Patty Hightower said once the meeting began. “We can not do that. He is elected by the people of this county.”

“The governor can remove the superintendent or you can do it by recall,” she said. “We can not remove him.”

District 5 board member Pete Gindhl, who represents the North Escambia area, cast the lone vote against the motion. He made no comment as to why.

“I feel as an elected official that people expect more out of us,” Curry said. “He has to check his heart.”

While he voted for the motion, board member Jeff Bergosh expressed some reservation. “I would like to wait until we see more facts come forward before voting on this,” he said.

“If we go forward with this, this is going to be all over the news,” Bergosh said.

When Hightower asked Paul if he had any comment, he simply replied “No, Mam”.

The boards vote to censure Paul carries no weight or legal standing; it is simply a public statement by the board.

About a half dozen protesters marched in front of the J.E. Hall Center before Tuesday night’s meeting, calling for Paul resignation or removal.

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