Brow School Super Tried To Keep Contract Secret








Derek Messier did not get a golden parachute when he quit as Broward Schools chief construction officer earlier this month.

But he got silver parachute contained in a sweetheart deal handed to him before he walked out the door.

Messier was rewarded with a $15,000 consulting contract by Superintendent Robert Runcie. No other consultants apparently were considered.

Under School Board policy, Runcie is permitted to spend up to $50,000 without Board approval.

Runcie kept the Messier sweetheart deal secret, never telling the School Board. Then after it leaked to Board last week, Runcie was forced to distribute a memo explaining Messier’s hiring to members.

The contract given Messier was contrary to good practices advised by the state. Competitive proposals are suggested for consulting contracts, but there are exceptions for unique or unusual skills.


Robert Runcie

School Superintendent Robert Runcie: Secret sweetheart deal


A veteran administrator in the Chicago Public School system like Runcie, Messier was chosen by the superintendent roughly a year ago to run Broward Schools construction program.  During the year he was here, Messier was traveling back-and-forth regularly to Chicago to visit his wife and children, who never moved.

Messier’s $15,000 is not a major expense in a $1 billion-plus budget. The question, of course, is how much more is Runcie spending that the Board doesn’t know about?

Runcie has made a habit of hiding information from the Board. Last week’s meeting was a prime example.

The superintendent’s staff handed out a multi-million dollar capital spending priority list after the meeting began although they had weeks to prepare it.

There was little time for Board members to study the list and discuss it publicly.

The list was handed to the Board so late that Runcie contended the members had no option but to approve it. That’s because it is due in Tallahassee by October 1.

This is another transparent ploy by the superintendent, who has chafed under any kind of oversight. He wants his proposals approved without any pesky interference by the elected Board and the public. So it hands out the proposals at the last minute, giving them no choice but approval.

Runcie has been keeping his spending, policies and hiring decisions from the Board until the latest possible moments since his arrival in 2011.

Last week, a majority of the Board seemed to have had enough. Members said they were displeased that the capital-spending list was handed out when the meeting was already in progress.

“I am very dissatisfied that we got the (capital) projects late,” member Robin Bartleman complained.

But the majority of the Board agreed they had no choice but to vote “yes.” The plan was due in Tallahassee in just weeks.

Even Runcie’s usual supporters were not happy.

“I don’t want to vote ‘yes,’” said Rosalind Osgood, traditionally a sure vote for the superintendent.

The displeasure was reflected in his yearly evaluation, released last week. Three of the nine members were critical of Runcie’s communication skills.

They were Heather Brinkworth and Nora Rupert, who have consistently been skeptical of the superintendent. Significantly this group now includes Laurie Rich Levinson, formally a Runcie cheerleader.

It appears the clock is ticking for Runcie.

But it will only strike Midnight when the Board finally lives up to their oath of office and becomes good public stewards of the public’s money.

Is that too much to ask?





27 Responses to “Brow School Super Tried To Keep Contract Secret”

  1. Amazing Karnack says:

    Karnack says C’mon man… secrets!!! There are no secrets amongst RunDMC and his harem of politicos. Karnack says every plan that he hatches gets passed to at least five members of his harem prior to public disclosure to ensure it will pass. Karnack says sure then the harem puts on this show in public like they have all kinds of problems with it but then ultimately pass it, usually overwhelmingly.
    Karnack predicted RunDMC would find a way to pay Derek for leaving having accomplished nothing. Karnack says Run would have preferred to just keep him on the payroll and not have him officially resign but that was too messy. Karnack says this way cleaner. Karnack says if you really want to know about how much Derek was actually getting paid someone should look into how many vacation and sick days he took versus how many days he spent in Chicago. Karnack says they don’t come close to lining up.
    Karnack says RunDMC and the harem are a match made in hell. Karnack says today’s organization much worse than any previous combination of political and administrative deviants. Karnack says stay tuned. Karnack says many more curious stories to be told. Karnack says the train has left the station.

  2. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    And you expected something better? Silly taxpayers.

  3. Talks like a politician says:

    The Chicago style of doing business that Runcie practices is strikingly similar to that of another Chicago guy, President Obama.

    The POTUS pushed a health care plan through Congress while his cheerleader, Nancy Pelosi said,”We just need to sign it. We can read it later.”
    The POTUS convinced Congress to OK a “deal” with Iran without revealing the nitty gritty details.

    Runcie just slapped capital projects budget on the table and said, “Sign it.” Amazing similarities in management behaviors between Obama and Runcie!

  4. Jose Luis says:

    Yes, it is too much to ask……

  5. Chaz Stevens, MAOS says:

    I ask this question for those who run a business.

    Would you hire Runcie?

    I wouldn’t…

  6. Peter McIntosh says:

    Buddy there is no story there. More importantly is the service Messier was contracted to provide. Is it a bridge until his replacement is found? Is it for him to recommend his replacement as is sometimes customary at that staff level.

    Let us not go off half cocked.

  7. carolina says:

    Even though Mr. Messier did not get the golden parachute I predict that mr. Runcie will get one. Even though several of the “board ladies” extended his contract to 2019 after only two years in office, I seriously doubt he will make it into that extended term. We taxpayers will be paying big bucks for a buy out that will send him back to Chicago. Thank you, board ladies who made this decision, hopefully you will be remembered at election time.

  8. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The Broward School Board and its Superintendent seem to be using the businesss and ethical guide from some Afghani warlord, getting huge amounts of US funds and then spending them note on educating school under their care but lining the pockets of their friends – in this case OUT OF TOWN FRIENDS!

  9. Andrew Ladanowski says:

    @6 if Runcie would have been open and told the board that he negotiated a $15k contract as bridge until his replacement was found the public, the public may have accepted this. But having the board find out independently, WOW I would be pissed if I were a board member. As a tax payer in Broward I am once again disappointed at Broward Schools, but not surprised.

  10. Where is Satz? says:

    It’s time for Satz to again launch an investigation of the School Board’s business policies. There have been deliberate delays in construction. There was the contract for construction management steered to Runcie’s favorite making the selection a joke. High paid jobs were given Runcie’s Chicago friends breaking the rules concerning fair selections. Runcie and his staff and the School Board violate Sunshine Law daily. Administrators, principals, teachers and students abandoning the schools because they know it is headed to hell. Schools are worse than ever before. PleaseMr. Satz convene a Grand Jury immediately.

  11. What's Wrong says:

    The School Board needs members with cojones to tell Bob Runcie where to get off, instead of their wet dream. Freedman, Murray, Korn,, Good and Osborne are in love with him. Grow a pair, girls.

  12. Sweet Pea says:

    I agree with #9. One of Mr. Runcie’s failures is he thinks he does not have to tell the board anything. Another example of his disrespect for the board which is his boss. All he needed to do was to be open and upfront then this would not be another incident where Runcie thinks hiding things is the best choice. Now, Runcie and the board are going to Naples for a retreat. I understand the board needs to time to get to know each other or bond. Why is Runcie going? He is not part of the board. If Runcie feels there must be the watch dog then send Karlan. Karlan has no agenda, Runcie does. Runcie wants to make sure the 5 who are in his court stay in his court.

  13. Union says:

    If the school board is such a good steward of the taxpayers money why are they spending 3 to 4 times the cost on outside contractors to repair schools. The board is totally oblivious to the wasteful spending and they do not care. We have proof of the blatant overspending. They are spending over 40 million for services which could be gotten for 10 million.

  14. Peter McIntosh says:

    # 12 Sweet Pea,

    Board Policy allows the Superintendent to spend up to $50,000 without prior Board Approval or notification.

    Buddy’s statement of “The contract given Messier was contrary to good practices advised by the state. Competitive proposals are suggested for consulting contracts, but there are exceptions for unique or unusual skills.” is correct however, there are provisions in Florida Statues and Board Policy that allows for the Superintendent’s action.

    Not until the details and the scope of work of the consulting services to be provided by Mr. Messier is made public before it would be fair to comment on the wisdom and intent of the Superintendent’s action.

    Let us be fair.

  15. Amazing Karnack says:

    Dear Peter,

    Karnack says if you want to be fair and “transparent” RunDMC should have communicated his intentions to all. Karnack says if you want to be fair String Bean accomplished nothing during his one way, listen to nobody, intimidate all tenure. Karnack says if you want to be fair where are the findings on his attempt to bid rig the program manager contract. Karnack says if you want to be fair explain the ridiculous consulting fees he negotiated with not one but three consultants. Karnack says if you want to be fair explain what special services he is being paid to provide, is it how to waste another year before we start bond issue projects?

    Karnack says please enlighten the public on String Bean’s positive accomplishments. Karnack challenges you to provide just one. Karnack says he did manage to abandon the needs assessment and the software to keep it updated that the District paid 1.5 million to do. Karnack says he did manage to get himself embroiled in a criminal investigation that the District is paying to defend him on. Karnack says why don’t you tell us all about that since you insist we need to have all the facts before we comment.

    Karnack says he knows you have a job to do by trying to put lipstick on the pig that is RunDMC’s failed construction program. Karnack says put your best spin on that.

  16. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Since 1985 I have been flabbergasted how failures in the private sector become employed in the public sector directly or indirectly and then write letters or blog now to defend corruption n waste in government. New York City Miami-Dade n Broward County seem to be particurly afflicted by this.

  17. FACTS says:

    Buddy. You must get your FACTS straight. Nothing was done inappropriately. “IT” (consulting contract)was approved by the Superintendent. How dare you make disparaging comments against Mr. Derek Messier.

    Do your research. Jobs are not given to individuals without consideration to School Board employees and the general public being aware the job (vacancy)exists. “IT” simply is not done.

    Buddy, review the FACTS.

  18. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    FACTS: What a classic example of the district’s apologists at work.

    “How dare you…?” Now that’s funny.

  19. FACTS says:

    @ 18; I like your comments; however, consider this.

    Maybe Mr. Messier stated he was not interested in the consulting contract.
    Maybe some other consultant stated they also were not interested.
    Maybe Mr. Runcie asked Mr. Messier to reconsider and Mr. Messier then said yes he would accept. Consequently, Mr. Runcie gave the consulting contract to Mr. Messier in secret without advertising or letting the Board know because the other consultant stated they were not interested and would not apply.

    Makes sense to some.

  20. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I wish Miss Greenberg or someone familiar with County school board contracts would explain or de-code into English how it is anyone BUT Dr.Runcie and his CHICAGO buddy can explain the conscionable circumstances of the con- sultan contract!

  21. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Not to me. Just a convoluted attempt to justify what Runcie did.

    Yes I believe no one with ability would work in the Facilities Dept. as long as Runcie and some of the “ladies” are in charge. But you never know until you advertise, do you?

    None of what you said justifies the secrecy. There’s something else going on.

  22. Ramblin Man says:

    To FACTS say, aka Just asking, aka JW: You all keep mentioning “IT”. What is “IT”? Don’t write in riddles. Come out and say whatever you want.

  23. just saying says:

    “I don’t want to vote ‘yes,’” said Rosalind Osgood, traditionally a sure vote for the superintendent.

    she must be up for re-election in in the Aug 2016 primaries.
    And nothing will change. these clueless spineless board members extended his contract to 2019 after rave reviews 2 yearsin. guess they all ‘forget’ it is the tax payers that fund this machine and they ALL work for us. we have been so lame and asleep at the switch and we are paper tigers. our fault. we are the authors of our own misfortune.

  24. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    A thought occurs to me after reading about the 13 or 16 Million paid out to the whistle blower at North Mis-Managed Hostile Systems under two Federal Laws. Does the Fed funding at the County School Board put them under these two Federal Laws?
    If the County School Board IS COVERED can’t knowledgeable people bring in the Feds for fun and profit?
    Does anyone realise this astute blog’s Chefs wrote about questionable financial management at North Mis-Managed Hostile Systems back in 2010? I mean instead of complaining about Dr Runcy and the Rancid Rangerettes of the Browsed County School Board why not expose them and get a mid-sized mansion on North Bay Red on Miami Beach.

  25. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    Count LF etc.,,,we’ve tried since Ashbritt and Wilma to get the Feds involved. Maybe Runcie’s brother having a job at the Dept. of Ed in DC has some bearing on it all?

  26. Answer says:

    Ramblin Man; I often talk in riddles. Some find it entertaining, some find it irritating, some find it helps remain in memory, some understand exactly what I am saying. How ever you find it, so be it.

    You make reference to names FACTS, Just asking & JW. That would suggest you aare a regular reader. All those names were used by me among others but NOT #23 here.

    You asked, what is “IT”. While I do not have all of my resources readily available, I will give you some examples from a clouded memory. That’s not the same as memory in the Cloud. Riddle!! Clouded memory as there is soooo much “IT”.

    “IT” was waiving the criteria/requirement that the Superintendent have a PhD (after Dr. Till left).
    “IT” was the stipulation that if an individual was hired as the interim Superintendent that individual could not apply for permanent Superintendent.
    “IT” was Jim Notter being hired as Interim Superintendent then being allowed to remain as Permanent Superintendent.
    “IT” was waiving the criteria/requirement that the Superintendent have a Master’s Degree (after Jim Notter left).
    “IT” was the Board refusing to accept Donnie Carter’s withdrawl of his application and making him Superintendent with only a degree in Physical Education.
    “IT” was Dorothy Davis and Amanda Bailey receiving a 22% increase in salary.
    “IT” was Tony Hunter being rehired at a salary of $175,000.
    Ramblin Man please do some research on some of these actions.
    “IT” was Patricia Good, while School board Chair, at a School Board Meeting stating to Pat Reilly I caution (her word, my word WARN) you to use numbers (amounts) like that in your reports (Audit Reports). This was discussing the Norcrest Audit Report and the $692,000 the auditors said the contractor overbilled. The legal department agreed with the amount.
    “IT” was Patricia Good asking School board Attorney Paul Carland if he still feels that way (agree) or was it that particular day.
    “IT” was Patricia Good (or any Board Member) NOT asking Paul Carland to go ahead and recoup the $692,000 that his office agreed was overbilled. Review the video.
    “IT” was the legas staff stating a contractor was NOT entitled to money (about $600,000) they were claiming but, that does not preclude the Board from providing additional compensation should they choose to do so.
    “IT” was the entire URS scoring debacle at QSEC.
    “IT” was Derek Messier putting out a RFP which did not have Board Approval.
    “IT” was Ruby Crenshaw, who is NOT a member of QSEC, but stating she would run the QSEC Meeting as the Chair, all while the person voted as Chair was in attendance and sat idly by. Review the audio.
    “IT” was the authorization to pay (and actual payment) Royal Concrete Concepts over $1 million dollars for module units not complete and not delivered at that time.
    Ramblin Man please do some research.
    “IT” was the Sheila VanHoose hiring and salary (which Buddy wrote about).
    “IT” is the overtime (amount of hours) being paid to various School Board employees.
    “IT” was the Kitchen/Cafeteria Projects changed from Bid to CM@Risk which increased their costs some $65 million dollars.
    “IT” was the Integrity Report. Research this report and note if it contains the authors and the date perforemd/published.
    “IT” Ramblin Man, comes in many forms, activities and processes.

    I intenionally have not addressed the “IT” referred to in the most recent posts. Some may consider that “IT” more ignominious than any of the ones mentioned above, when you consider the planning and participants.

    I leave you Ramblin Man with this, review previous comments, do some research, analyze the facts (not FACTS) and you decide if that was “IT”.

  27. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Answer Says gives us a long list of wasteful and nepotistic and stupid actions, BUT I DONT SEE ANY THAT ARE CRIMINAL! Without a CRIMINAL CHARGE or CHARGES no State Attorney or US Attorney is going to look at the Broward School Board. And remember, as I recall it was MISS REFORMER, the candidate of Womens’ Gay & Lesbians, left wing groups NAN RICH who made sure the Inspector for Broward County could NOT investigate the School Board as a favour as I recall to her DAUGHTER!
    The School Board travesty may not have been created by, but is maintained by our wonderful left wing in the Democratic Party which NEVER THINKS BEFORE IT VOTES!