Superintendent of Schools Bryan Blavatt plans to investigate recent allegations that Chief Financial Officer Desiree Henegar sent pornographically charged messages and materials from a personal account on district property during work hours.
The allegations stemmed from an anonymous tip and included published articles referencing messages sent by an account registered to Henegar on Tumblr, a social networking website, with which pornographic images and disparaging remarks about the superintendent were allegedly sent.
"At this point the site isn't there, and we'll follow our normal procedure and take any action related to school board violation of policy or ethics," Blavatt said. "But we're not going to rush to judgment until we see what we have."
Henegar, 47, was an assistant budget director for Sarasota County schools before starting work as chief financial officer for the district in March 2009.
"This is the opportunity I've been looking for," Henegar said in 2009. "This is everything I've worked for."
As of Thursday morning, no decision yet has been made to suspend Henegar, said Blavatt, who is expected to return to work Monday.
According to school board policy manual, district computers, network access, and other information resources shall be limited to legitimate educational purposes. Programs for personal, commercial or illegal purposes, including games, are not authorized.
Email, Web pages, and other forms of electronic documentation cannot be obscene, abusive, or contain other inappropriate material, and will require the same handling as other public records.
"The one thing that appears to be consistent with everything is it is not school board technology, because our system filters out any attempts to get on that website or similar websites," Blavatt said. "So you couldn't do it through our Internet, but you could through a personal 3G or 4G device."
School Board Member Dianne Bonfield said the timeframe of the superintendent's investigation is uncertain, but said if the allegations are true, and there's something to be looked into, then that might be known by the board's next meeting Jan. 22.
"That's what I've learned being on the board of education: you hear one side, but there's always another side," Bonfield said. "At this point in time what you read could very well take you back, but we have to wait for the full investigation to see what we're talking about here. But if indeed it is pornography, no one should be viewing it."
"I'm speechless really. We just have to wait now and see what (the superintendent) will come up with."
Bonfield said she's never encountered a situation like the one alleged, and to be investigated.
"It's unbelievable, it's just unbelievable," Bonfield said. "No, I really haven't, and I hope I never even come close to something like this again."
Henegar could not be reached for comment.