Michael Grieco will skip pay if Ron DeSantis delivers on threat to withhold school admin money

'Unfortunately, here in Florida, we’ve got it backwards.'

Rep. Michael Grieco said he will work without pay if Gov. Ron DeSantis follows through on a threat to withhold the salaries of school administrators who defy his executive order against school mask mandates.

“I’ll say this right now. If the Governor pulls anybody’s salary, I am committing personally to forgo whatever measly salary I get in the House until that gets resolved,” he said Tuesday during a Zoom conference.

Florida lawmakers are paid about $30,000 yearly, plus a $152 per diem allowance, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.

Fellow Democratic Reps. Robin Bartleman of Weston, Fentrice Driskell of Tampa and Anna Eskamani of Orlando also spoke during the 40-minute, virtual discussion on DeSantis’ anti-mask rule.

Grieco, a former Miami Beach Commissioner, commended Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who said Sunday that his district will continue to be “oriented by the expert advice of professionals” and lamented the “rhetorical narrative that’s deeply influenced by politics rather than medicine.”

“At no time shall I allow my decision to be influenced by a threat to my paycheck, a small price to pay considering the gravity of this issue and the potential impact to the health and wellbeing of our students and dedicated employees,” Carvalho said.

Grieco said he was proud Carvalho took a strong stance on the matter and encouraged other Florida superintendents to ignore DeSantis’ order and “do what’s right for the kids.”

“We talk about local control, and you flip on CNN and see people like (former Ohio) Gov. (John) Kasich talk about how true conservatism is about giving power to those closest to the people,” he said. “Unfortunately, here in Florida, we’ve got it backwards.”

Despite polling that shows 62% of Florida voters believe schools should require all children to wear masks when classes restart this month amid a record-high number of COVID-19 hospitalizations throughout the state, the Governor has yet to back off from his stance against masks.

He and other Florida Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, have argued vaccinations, which haven’t yet been cleared for use by children 11 and younger, are the surest way for people to protect themselves against life-threatening symptoms.

“As for children and teenagers, the chances are that if they get it, they’re going to be fine after a few days. But unlike the first wave of COVID, we are seeing children in hospitals and even in intensive care, and that’s something we didn’t see the first time around,” Rubio said by video Monday. “Look, those are the facts based on what we know about COVID right now. In America, you are free to decide what you want to do with that information.”

On Friday, a group of parents filed suit against the state of Florida over DeSantis’ order, which they claim violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by placing an “illegal barrier (preventing) students with disabilities … from returning to public schools.”

But DeSantis’ order appears to be working for now. While some county school boards like Manatee and Pinellas have adopted mask-optional policies, others like Lee, Orange and Duval said they will require masks, but allow parents to opt out.

The School Board of Broward County, which announced plans to require masks in classrooms early this month, voted 8-1 Tuesday to keep its mask mandate in place.

Bartleman, a former teacher and school administrator who represents Broward, said protecting students is one of a school’s top priorities. Right now, she said, DeSantis’ order is preventing schools from doing that.

“When one child, just one child in my classroom, had a peanut allergy, not a single student could bring peanuts into the classroom, and parents never disagreed because it was about the life and death of that child. Yet the same logic is not applied to a deadly pandemic,” she said. “Their only line of defense is a mask.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at Jess[email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • father gabriel

    August 10, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    in Florida after volunteering at CONDO COLLAPSE AREA PENNING PLAYT
    honoring thr lost PLAYWRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS penned

    playwrights sanctuary

  • Ed

    August 11, 2021 at 9:06 am

    Another New Yorker that brings his screwed up politics to Florida.

  • Jerry

    August 13, 2021 at 12:01 am

    Sorry, but I don’t see freedom as going backwards. What I do see is society going backwards slipping into authoritarianism in exchange for a promise of safety no one can give.
    We are now back to the days of needing papers and full government compliance to go to a restaurant, a store, or a concert. It’s now a tyranny of left wing scientists that censor and destroy anyone who challenges their narrative. We saw this with the climate change debate. Any meteorologist who challenged the data was threatened. Now any doctor who challenges Emperor Fauci may lose their license. Some Democrat even suggested it be a “hate crime” to criticize the CDC.
    America is in imminent danger of being lost forever. Once freedoms and liberties are gone. You never get them back. Over the last 2 years….we’ve given up a lot.

    • Alex

      August 13, 2021 at 7:00 am

      So what constitutional rights have you lost hmm?

      Speech, fair trial, secure in place/things, innocent before guilty and none of them apply.

      Please name a few.

    • Alex

      August 13, 2021 at 8:18 pm

      That’s what I thought.

      Next time don’t confuse your selfish feelings for your rights.

      Oh, and it’s quite clear many Republicans in Congress are accepting that the world is warming because of fossil fuels.
      Now the next losing battle they’ll fight is over their lack of understand how bad the damage will get if we don’t do enough, unfortunately.

Comments are closed.


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