Bay School District Hires Independent Investigator

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BAY COUNTY-- Bay District School Officials are turning over a recently reopened investigation into the use of Arnold High School's baseball fields to an independent investigator.

This comes after Arnold High School's Baseball Boosters sent additional evidence to the district that could uncover a mishandling of funds.
Newschannel 7's Sanika Dange has the latest.

Earlier this month, Bay District Schools opened an investigation after Arnold Baseball Boosters claimed thousands of dollars were missing.

A group called Grand Slam sports had been renting the baseball diamond at Arnold High School for the past six years.

School policy requires a "facility use" form to be filled out when renting a school facility, in this case, the district stated they couldn't find any.
We asked why.

"Doesn't something of that nature get run by the principal? I mean the principal of the school, doesn't he oversee all of that? Paperwork and all of that?"

"Well you know, those forms do come across the principal's desk," said Dr. John Haley, Operations Executive Director

We made repeated attempts to ask Arnold Principal Keith Bland about this case, and he refused comment.

According to findings of the district's initial investigation, district officials determined former head baseball coach Mitch Kelly acknowledged he accepted cash from Grand Slam sports, but they say he kept it for "services rendered."

The district cited the parties did not follow procedure and closed the case.
That lead Arnold Boosters to bring forth more information, and the district reopened the case.

"We've asked an independent Florida High School Athletic certified investigator come and just look at the information."

That third party investigator is former district employee, Glenn Manley.

"Yeah he's a retired educator now. He was a former Athletic Director at Bay. He participated in athletic activities at Bozeman. I'm not sure but he may have been an Athletic Director there. I do know he participated in athletics at Bozeman."

"Is that standard protocol? To hire someone as an investigator who's connected to the school district?"

"Not standard I would say, but we want someone with experience."

We asked school board member Steve Moss about Manly's appointment.

"He's someone who's been associated with the school district, potentially does know some of the people who are involved in this and therefore, is there a possibility that this investigation could come out biased or not?"

"I think there's always a possibility. I think whoever you hire to do the investigation will come with some of their own biases and background," said Steve Moss, District 5 School Board Member.

The district will now wait for Manley to release the results of his investigation.
In Bay County, Sanika Dange, Newschannel 7.

Newschannel 7 talked to Glenn Manley today by phone, who pointed out he has credentials from the Florida High School Athletic Association to investigate cases like this.he says he is retired, and does not have direct ties to anyone involved.
He also says he does not know how long his investigation will take.