BY BUDDY NEVINS
After Ilene Lieberman’s conduct at this week’s Broward County Commission meeting, I doubt whether she is fit to be a judge.
I don’t know for sure that she is running. Lieberman’s refused to answer the simple questions below concerning a campaign.
A run for the bench has been widely expected for weeks at the Government Center, in legal circles and in the courthouse website JAAblog.
She even is believed to have picked veteran campaign consultant Judy Stern to help her.
In a non-denial denial, all Stern would tell me is that she remained “focused” on her other candidates until filing for judicial races closed noon on April 20.
I think Lieberman’s chances are good if she runs. That’s sad.
Forget about her controversial past as a lobbyist while serving on the commission. Forget about her wheeling and dealing. Forget about everything bad you might have heard about her.
Lieberman doesn’t belong on the bench because of temperament.
I’ve watched Lieberman for two decades. Her career has one common dominator: A My Way-or-the Highway attitude.
She is dismissive of other opinions and intolerant of anybody who disagrees with her.
She’s not a listener, a trait necessary in a good judge.
Why should she listen to others? She knows what’s right because she’s the smartest gal in the room.
And she’ll tell you that, again and again. I’ve heard her at least a dozen times use phrases like, “I know you’re not a laywer so just try and understand this.” Or something like, “You know I was head of my law school class?”
Lately there is a new wrinkle in the Lieberman story. She’s been interrupting her colleagues on the dais. She’s been erupting in shouting matches with other commissioners.
Talk about unjudicial behavior.
Take this week.
Lieberman and Mayor John Rodstrom went at it. It got so bad, Commissioner Sue Gunzburger had to step in. Here are the unedited minutes of the meeting:
COMMISSIONER GUNZBURGER: I AM GOING TO ASK US TO BE CIVIL THIS IS NOT A BACK AND FORTH AND WHO SAID WHAT WHEN LET’S STAY ON THE ISSUES.
MAYOR RODSTROM: WILL YOU STOP ATTACKING ME ?…. LIEBERMAN STOP SPREADING INFORMATION ABOUT (ME)….
COMMISSIONER GUNZBURGER: PLEASE THIS IS A CIVIL DEBATING PLACE. NOT ONE THAT GETS INTO PERSONALITIES.
MAYOR RODSTROM: THANK YOU, COMMISSIONER.
All caused by our new judge.
Ilene Lieberman has done a lot for this county. She instituted reforms and improvements. She has used her office to help the community. Helping start an organ transplant center in Broward is one example.
That doesn’t make her good material for the bench…if she is running.
Below is the e-mail I sent to Lieberman two days ago. It was not answered. My offer to use any answer she submits without comment remains.
How are you doing?
Two commissioners and several other folks in politics have told me that you are about to open a campaign for judge.
1) When do you plan to announce this?
(2) Have you decided what seat yet?
(3) Is Judy Stern, as is widely rumored, running your campaign?
(4) Why do you believe you will be a good judge?
I will run your answers completely without editing — unless you want me to use excerpts — without comment.
Thanks for your time and your help.