Runcie Ordered To Disclose Bus Complaints

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

Is the school bus snafu the end of Superintendent Robert Runcie’s honeymoon?

It looks like it when member Robin Bartleman publicly demands answers from him.

Runcie can’t seem to get his flunkies to fix the buses.

Worse yet as far as the School Board is concerned, he can’t put a lid on the bad PR.

Bartleman, who I must note here is running for re-election and on the November ballot, broke quite publicly with Runcie this week.

She took her questions to Runcie public.  She usually handled such questions quietly in the secluded confines of the School Board headquarters.

By public, I mean she copied them to the media, including Browardbeat.com .

In politics (and often in life) where every action has a hidden meaning, this is a big deal.  The retiring Bartleman, who is pathological about shying away  from disagreements in public, is taking the issue public.

She is sending a big signal to Runcie.

By demanding that he start revealing the number of complaints and the time frame for resolving any issues, she is putting pressure on him to solve the bus blunder.

Demanding Runcie provide answers is unusual for this Board. Members Nora Rupert and Patty Good have been the only ones to consistently question some of Runcie’s more fanciful pronouncements

The Board has been Runcie’s obedient puppies to date, satisfied to follow wherever the superintendent leads.

How is that working out for you Laurie Rich Levinson?

Member Levinson is Runcie’s chief cheerleader.

In my opinion, Levinson has washed her hands of her School Board responsibilities repeatedly. She apparently prefers that the fast-talking Runcie take care of everything, while she collects whatever perks remain from being a School Board member.

Levinson was the chief cheerleader when Runcie boosted administrative expenses and tried to hide it through phantasmagorical hocus-pocus.

She seems little better to me than Bob Parks in a dress.  I would explain the Parks’ philosophy as: Hire a superintendent and let him do whatever he wants, as long as you get to take the benefits and call yourself a School Board member.

Well, the chickens in the form of angry parents have come home to roost. I hope they are tying up Levinson’s phone and confronting her in Publix.

Unfortunately for the public, Levinson has two years before her next election.

Bartleman is not so lucky.

Here is her e-mail to Runcie demanding answers:

 

8/27/12
4:27 pm
 
Mr. Runcie,

 

As you are aware, I have been receiving daily emails and phone calls regarding transportation. Mr. Woods has done an excellent job responding to those issues brought to my attention. I know staff is working diligently to correct the problems; however,  it would be helpful if you could provide the board members with a daily report including the following information:
- the daily call volume
- the number of unresolved issues including the number of students without routes.
- the estimated time frame for resolving all outstanding issues.

 

This information will help us monitor the department’s progress and help us explain the situation to parents.

 

Thank you for your assistance,
Robin Bartleman

 

29 thoughts on “Runcie Ordered To Disclose Bus Complaints”

  1. What would be interesting to see would be a breakdown of what the total budget for transportation was last year versus this year. My bet is that there is/was no budget savings this school year, yet the service and management seems to be grossly incompetent. Why?

  2. Not a fan of many school board members, but Robin has always been concerned with the students first. That’s why she has my support in November!

  3. For those of you who fancy yourselves executives, and who imagine that simply because problems exist that must be evidence of incompetence, who want change but not the discomfort that comes with it, here is a word of caution and common sense.

    Change is messy. Change within any bureaucracy is accompanied by resistance. There will be sabotage, subversion, obstructionism, finger pointing, lies, disruption, or destruction of effort. There will be all manner of passive-aggressive behavior, slow downs, misinformation, intentional mistakes, omissions intended to add up to failure.

    This is how the status quo fights to gasp their last breath of air.

    Robert Runcie is fighting to recapture the soul of this corrupt and inept school system from those who hold it for personal gain and keep it from performing as it should for kids. Runcie’s only interest is in making the school district better. There will be good days and bad in that effort.

    But the last thing that will help are “school board” members who have no executive experience. Or reporters that seem to have fun throwing stones at masons as they build new walls.

    This too shall pass. My money remains on Runcie to carry this system toward much greater success. If and only if we leave him alone and let him do his job.

    For once in our lives, Broward should learn because our own track record for running that district well is abysmal. Let the man do his job. Expect some tough days mixed with more successful ones. It will take more than a year to even begin to fix that mess. So far on the whole he has been amazing. Let him continue and be supportive.

    Look at it this way. He can’t do worse than the very best superintendent Broward County ever hired to run the school system in the past. That’s just not possible. Embrace change and the inconveniences that come with it. We’ll get there.

  4. Runcie is a career government administrator (bureaucrat). He perhaps may be very good at is job … although you cannot see it in his performance so far in Broward. But Runcie also needs to remember that his job is to carry out the policies set by the Board. The Board is Runcie’s boss, not the other way around. And the Board, or course, is accountable to the voters.

    At least on this round, I’d score it: Bartleman 1, Runcie 0. And, until is fixed, Parents 0.

    But do I appreciate Bartleman’s attempt to get us some answers.

  5. @Real Deal,

    I don’t know that, “Runcie’s only interest is in making the school district better.” He has yet to prove it.

    Unless he starts taking names and kicking ass, (and by that I mean removing all those bureaucrats that sabotage, subvert, obstruct, destruct, lie and disrupt) he will, IMO, remain just another overpaid bureaucrat that wants an easy job.

    It is the Boards duty to ask the hard questions and his duty to answer them. Maybe he is the best administrator since God himself, but he still needs to be responsive to the Board.

  6. @RealDeal: One of the first things that came to my mind.

    “There will be sabotage, subversion, obstructionism, finger pointing, lies, disruption, or destruction of effort. There will be all manner of passive-aggressive behavior, slow downs, misinformation, intentional mistakes, omissions intended to add up to failure.”

  7. I find the email from the school board member to their subordinate, the superintendent, way too polite. A week after school is open and the performance standard information being requested is “the number of students without routes” !?! That is beyond belief. How about demanding information on the number of routes delivering students to schools late; the number of students no longer waiting for late buses and having their parents take them; the number of instructional hours being missed by kids who are taking the buses. This isn’t rocket science; there is still no accountability; there are no excuses.

  8. Sam thinks that Runcie has to prove his only interest is to make the district better. Sam has doubts and thinks perhaps Runcie came to Broward from Chicago in order to mess us up even more.

    In other words Runcie, who just got there and is unfolding a plan at long last to reform that corrupt, inept, inefficient school system, has suspect motives. According to “Sam.”

    Now if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about what goes on at the Broward school district then nothing will.

  9. Here we go again… Runcie needs to respond to the BOARD.. Not the other way around! Nick is correct.. Robin was way too kind… Demand answers and respect! Nora and Patti need to keep on him! Grow some cojones the rest of you!!!

  10. FROM BUDDY:

    Here is what one parent wrote Browardbeat.com after this was posted about his child:
    “When I got my daughters bus assignment I thought it had to be a mistake…a mile from my house and pick up at 4:52AM. It wasn’t a mistake!”
    And Runcie wonders why parents are upset!!!!

  11. There are 9 Board members. Even if Rupert, Good and Bartleman are asking questions, where are the other 6 members, one of which was the former head of Transportation. Several of those are retiring so there are no consequences to their putting pressure on Runcie and his staff. Why hasn’t anyone asked for a deadline for this to end or the efficiency expert is history? In business, the employer asks for deadlines and accountability of their employees – did someone forget to tell the rest of the Board? After all, the Board receives a salary from the taxpayers.

    Accountability seems to be a word that is foreign to the School District and School Board.

  12. Runcie is poster child for #totalepicfail. I’m voting for strong people like Barbara Wilson and Abby Freedman. They will get a good super.

  13. A disenchanted Republican

     

    I attended two school board candidate forums in July. Donna Korn was falling all over herself with pride that she cut $20 million from the bus transportation department and for better “customer service” from the school board. So she dismantled the bus department so badly that young children were abandoned at stops far from their homes, parents were distraught, to say nothing of the inconvenience, fear and loss of wages for many, and classes were disrupted. GREAT JOB KORN!

     

    So much for your poorly targeted republican budget cutting ideas. Gov. Scott who appointed you should be ashamed. At least the voters will have the opportunity soon to vote you out and elect someone who knows that student safety goes hand-in-hand with educational excellence. If you really want to save money cut from the top not from the kids and the classrooms. As one of your fellow republicans I had such greater hopes for you. You’re toast.

     

    P.S. I just heard that Anthony Luciani has endorsed Franklin Sands instead of you.

  14. look at your recent TRIM notice from Lori Parish. Look at what the SBBC gets in taxes. Buses are not that difficult. There are many ways to schedule routes, pick-ups, etc., some sophisticated and some like we did it in the old days before smart phones and metrics. those kids got to school on times and home as well. So I suspect as some comments state above there is dissension in the ranks, the longtime “Culture” in the Transportation Dept. is subverting the bussing, and everyone is playing stupid because if you end up “Fixing” anything, like Runcie and cronies may truly be trying to do, it would Imply That Something Needed Fixing. Thanks Buddy for keeping this on front burner.
    I hope Bartleman and Good will get some backing from the others on SBBC.
    Who running in the runoffs will support Bartleman and Good? No sense in electing more do-nothing self-preoccupied clowns to the dais.
    Like I said – just look at that TRIM notice – esp. if you have no children in school system.

  15. Like in Survior, Becky the tribe has spoken and you were voted off the island, be gone loser…

  16. Runcie disclosed today that the current transportation fiasco is an orchestrated attempt by disgruntled union employees to sabotage his reforms. It’s being done by the workers on purpose in order to advance their own financial interests.

    Here is my solution to that problem. Fire them all and replace them with private companies. I love labor. But they must understand that they work for us. Sabotage and insubordination will never be tolerated.

    I would fire them all, replace them with a private transportation company at a fraction of the cost. Without question, every kid will get to school on time and generate a significant savings.

    Everyone wins that way. Labor union terrorism in the public schools must stop.

    I had my doubts at first but now I stand firmly with Runcie.

  17. @Good Citizen, nobody cares about me and Tony. His endorse ment is worth zip.zero.nada almost as useless as a Becky Blackwood autograph. Sands is clueless from all his time in Tallahassee.

  18. Privatizing sounds like the way to go – not just the bus drivers but the mechanics fleet that maintains and services the buses. The savings would be phenomenal and the gamesmanship and passive aggressive subversives would be out of the picture. Playing games with the safety of children who need to get to and from school safely and on time is fodder for a lawsuit. Which actually may be a good way to get Runcie’s attention, and start the firing of the whole bus division. Any parents of Broward school children in the legal profession to get this started?

  19. Abby Freeman is a terrible person. She is more than rude and pompous. We don’t care how much money she has or the 750 BMW her little husband drives… She is so far removed from reality that there is no way she should be elected. And you are right she knows a lot about nothing. She just wants to flaunt her money around paying her way through the campaign. Thats all we need is another out of touch with reality person on the school board. I was also appalled at her rude behavior at polling places and events. She had no time for what she thought we little people…. Boy was she wrong… Her campaign manager Amy Rose should teach her clients to be a little more humble.

  20. Really, Shelly is better?

    Look at her Facebook page has Shelly ever said one detailed plan of action she would do upon being elected? He entire campaign is formed around adjectives and buzz words.

    Customer Serivce, these are schools we are dealing with not Target or Wall Mart.

    All Shelly can talk about is bulllying. Yes its a horrible thing, but a School Board Memeber has to be more than a one trick poney.

    She says she is a certified life coach? HUH?

    Instead of

  21. It is interesting to see Mrs. Anthony Luciani and Bye Bye Becky hammering my comments when no one was there when I and 2 other female inspectors were standing alone telling the public of the financial corruption and mismanagement in the Facilities and Building Department. The Transportation Department has its skeletons, too. Remember the last Grand Jury said, “we haven’t begun to scratch the surface.”

    I can assure you outsourcing is not the answer. It is not less expensive. When inspector services were outsourced, the outsourced Chief Building Official charged $600. an hour with additional services at least 6 times what the School Board paid their personnel. The problem is better vetting of prospective employees, revising job descriptions to attract the best and brightest.

    Yes, I lost but at least I had the courage to speak up and put my money where my mouth was and take the harassment, while others in my department just went along with illegal acts to keep their job. The people who were against me were those individuals who wanted the School Board and its operations to not change. Maybe Mrs. Luciani and Bye Bye Becky who don’t have the courage to sign their own names should look in the mirror. I haven’t endorsed anyone but I certainly experienced a lot more of the internal workings of the School Board then most of you commenting. The famous phrase while I was there and still exists is, “if it don’t work, don’t fix it”. The other, “Screw up – move up”. Maybe with the public finally getting fed up, something will happen. If it doesn’t, the threats about disbanding the School Board may become true.

  22. overheard today while at the counter of an Oakland Park establishment that the ‘rank and file’ in the bus dept. are upset with Runcie’s bus guy he brought in from Chicago, and thus the ‘mistakes’, ‘confusion’ and ‘inepititude’ to undercut him. long time bus staff are going to ‘show him’

    FROM BUDDY:

    He is getting paid a lot of money not to be “undercut”. He had months to get the bus situation under control before school started. He now had over week since the problems surfaced on the first day of school.

  23. “I haven’t endorsed anyone but I certainly experienced a lot more of the internal workings of the School Board then most of you commenting.”

    Yeah Becky, I am sure those is the remaining races are eargerly awaiting your edorsements. You didnt even pull 20% in a 3 person race.

    When you were at the school board? Wasnt that during the Bush administration.

    Go home and keep spending the taxpayer money you received in your settlement.

  24. This is just a case of major political grandstanding by Robin Bartleman.

    Fact is that there are transportation snafu’s every single year and they are usually corrected within days of the beginning of classes.

    This year all of a sudden this is big news and being portrayed as though Supt. Runcie was actually driving these buses.

    Give the guy a break and let him do his job.

    As for Robin Bartleman, it would be nice if you were this vocal all year long and not just at election time.

    What are you worried because you are in a run-off this year?
    There’s a reason for that and maybe, just maybe, your time has come to be replaced.

    It is certainly NOT Supt. Runcie’s time. He’ll still be here when you are gone Robin.

  25. Real Deal, Runcie brought in Chester Tindall to save the Board money and streamline transportation. The guy had no clue, was a loose cannon, reinvented the wheel and screwed up

  26. http://thewestsidegazette.com/employees-blame-gross-mismanagement-for-conditions-within-the-broward-school-districts-transportation-department-3/

    [...] By most accounts, the problems go far deeper than the debacle that occurred on the first day of school when Broward County school bus drivers learned about their routes for the first time, resulting in mass confusion among parents, students and drivers alike.

    As morale within the Transportation Department continues to plummet, allegations of widespread cronyism, bullying, and even illegal employment practices continue to swirl around the District’s Transportation Chief, Chester Tindall, with calls for his ouster escalating.

    Tindall, a consultant recruited from Chicago by Superintendent Runcie, and reportedly paid $125,000 a year, has been described as arrogant, divisive, and callous toward his workers. He is also said to be patently violating worker’s rights after employees complained bitterly of being fired without cause, and laid off while workers with less seniority assumed their positions, leading to investigations by the EEOC and the Federation of Public Employees, the union representing the bus drivers. Exacerbating matters, Tindall has repeatedly ignored summons to appear at union grievance talks.

    Other employees have filed lawsuits claiming racial discrimination and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Allegations have even surfaced claiming that employees have been pressured into withdrawing from the union in order to keep their jobs, a charge that is currently under investigation by the union. [...]

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