BY BUDDY NEVINS
Memo to School Board:
We didn’t elect you to be a cheerleader for Broward School Superintendent Robert Runcie. We elected you to ask the tough questions of the staff.
The majority of the Board couldn’t come up with one tough question this week when Runcie rolled out his long-rumored reorganization of the school system administration.
He presented it as a fait accompli. He never consulted the Board, although he was making wholesale changes that had significant political fallout for them
And what does the tone-deaf Board do? Against the outspoken opposition of members Patti Good and Nora Rupert, Board member fell over themselves to congratulate Runcie for leaving them in the dark.
Not only did Runcie leave them in the dark. He lied publicly about the reorganization.
He told the Sun-Sentinel that it was just “rumors” that he was firing 152 school bookkeepers. That comment was posted on the Sun-Sentinel Internet site after a memo had gone out to schools laying off bookkeepers.
Here is the most heartless excerpt from the April 18th memo:
“Q. What do we do if our budgetkeeper/bookkeeper is scheduled to retire in Nov?
A. Give the employee a layoff notice.”
Here is the April 18 memo with the section marked (click to enlarge):
A day after the memo went out on April 19, the Sun-Sentinel quoted Runcie:
“Superintendent Robert Runcie reiterated that message Thursday, saying the layoffs were a “rumor” and that he “hadn’t heard those numbers before.”"No one has been notified of a layoff at this time,” he said.”
This memo didn’t just appear. It had to be planned for a long time.
I call it like I see it: Robert Runcie is a straight-up liar.
Needless to say, a public storm erupted. It was a storm anybody should have anticipated if they have any political skills, which apparently leaves out Runcie.
Runcie backed away from dismissing the bookkeepers in schools…for now.
Congratulated!!! He should have been chastised.
This is a school system that has had a significant problem with public trust. This is a school system that is struggling to regain the confidence of the public.
And they congratulate a superintendent who openly lied to the public.
Several of them – Laurie Rich Levinson is a prime example — act like they have a crush on Runcie. They gush like preteens meeting Justin Bieber when they speak about the superintendent.
They apparently have forgotten they are the boss and he is the employee.
To me, Runcie is all smoke and mirrors. He is a product of the opaque Chicago-style top-down politics.
His entire reorganization was done without public discussion. He filled many of the positions without advertising them. He handpicked even lower-ranking administrators.
He changed some titles. He moved some people around. He fired some non-administrative type, average working folks.
Runcie apparently believes he was named generalissimo, rather than superintendent.
“I expressed a lot of reservations,” Rupert said. “I don’t care what the staff is telling us. Positions are really being added at the 25 Pay Grade and above – about $50,000 or $60,000 pay level.”
As far as his widely proclaimed demotions for administrators, they keep the same salary for at least a year.
Smoke and mirrors.
Still the Board majority oohed and aahed.
Just a few years ago, another Board was oohing and aahing for their superintendent.
Then a state Grand Jury called the school system corrupt and a disgrace.
The Board members back then should have asked some tough questions….just like they should today.
Channel 10′s Bob Norman has a story on the bookkeepers today, too. Look for it on the Channel 10 website here.