Posted: 7:00 am Thursday, June 6th, 2013
By Allison Ross
On Wednesday, the Palm Beach County School Board interviewed the two finalists vying to take over as general counsel from Sheryl Wood, who is leaving later this month for the private sector.
In a 4-3 vote, the board chose JulieAnn Rico to take the position, pending contract negotiations.
Rico used to be general counsel for the school board from 2002 to 2005. In 2005, she left to become Miami-Dade’s school board attorney.
The end of her tenure with the Miami-Dade school district was a rocky one. She was fired in 2008 after she came under fire for taking a $15,000 moving package without ever moving into Miami-Dade County. Instead, she stayed in Palm Beach County. At the time, she said she used the money to stay in local hotels and apartments, according to news stories. Rico later sued the board.
Rico now works at Biologics Development Services in Tampa as president and general counsel. She said Wednesday that she will be leaving that company and will give the school district her “full-time attention.”
After Rico was selected, board members spoke briefly about parameters they’d like to see in her contract. Brill said she didn’t believe “our budget allows for a relocation allowance,” to which Rico quickly indicated that that was not an issue.
“I’m really thrilled to be back here,” Rico said after the meeting. She briefly addressed the issue in Miami-Dade, offering a letter of reference from one of the school board members who was there at the time she was fired.
“It was a difficult time, a politically charged environment,” Rico said. “I’m glad it’s over.”
Rico also noted that she respects Laura Pincus, the other finalist for the position. The two women worked together in both Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, and Pincus said in her interview that she followed Rico to Miami-Dade.
“At the time, I would have followed her to Alaska,” said Pincus, who is deputy counsel with the school district.
UPDATE: School board members Marcia Andrews, Chuck Shaw, Frank Barbieri and Debra Robinson voted for Rico in the 4-3 vote.