Buddy’s Take On Notter’s Retirement


Jim Notter is no Mu’ammar Qaddafi.  He knows when it’s time to leave.  He’s getting out while the getting is good.

Notter, who announced his retirement Tuesday, was facing a painful Spring. Budget cuts. Layoffs. More criticism from the state about the mismanagement of the Broward system is on the way.

But it was almost certainly the impending early evaluation threatened by Board members that prompted him to run for the door.  After 37 years as an educator, Notter didn’t need an inquisition by Torquemada wannabes.

The reason for the evaluation was the blistering Grand Jury report which found widespread mismanagement in the Broward school system.  Since its release, Board members frantically tried to shift the blame for wrongdoing to Notter and his staff.

Sure, Notter and his people enabled everything that is bad about the Broward schools.  In many cases, they were just following the orders of the School Board.

That’s why jurors blasted the Board for making decisions based on what would benefit lobbyists and vendors.

That’s why jurors roasted the Board for “incompetence and “corruption.

That’s why jurors called for the Board to be dismantled.

Pretty strong words.

Yes, it is time for Notter to go.  After years of misspending and administrative failures, the schools needs change.  They need a new direction.

It’s a tough time to be an administrator in the Crystal Palace, the Board’s multi-million dollars glass and marble headquarters. Board members won’t stop at Notter.  Other top administrators will be eased out or pushed out.  The bloated administration needs to be cut.

The Board must clean houseor the Legislature will do it for them.

Members are desperate to restore the public’s trust before the next election, August 2012.  Forcing Notter to retire is just the first step.

The question is whether the Board has the skills to navigate to a brighter tomorrow.  Call me a cynic, but I have my doubts.

After the Grand Jury report, the Board was stuck with undesirable choices.  They had to place all the blame on Notter and push him aside.  In the process, they lost the shield protecting them from criticism.

Even though they had no choice, Board members will soon be sorry they forced Notter out.  Because in the future, members will have nobody to blame for the system’s failings but themselves.

20 Responses to “Buddy’s Take On Notter’s Retirement”

  1. Floridan says:

    Over the past 30 years, the Broward County School Board has hired as superintendent the following individuals: William McFatter, William Leary, Virgil Morgan, Frank Petruzielo, Frank Till and Jim Notter.

    They ran the gamut in management style, vision and ego, and yet they all ended up becoming the scapegoats for the perceived problems of the school system.

    The truth is that any superintendent is hired to be fired (or to jump before that happens). The drumbeat of negativity and fingerpointing guarantees it.

    To my mind, this insures that the system remains disfunctional.

  2. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    Excellent points, Buddy. The combination of inquiring minds wanting to know — both in Broward and in Tallahassee — was too much to handle. The fact that both the attorney and superintendent will now be new means that the current board members will be under extremely intense scrutiny over the choices they make. It will be very interesting to see if a solid majority for fundamental change and transparency exists. Few professionals want to work with a razor-thin majority of backers, so next year’s elections will truly tell the tale of how much reform will really take place in this district. The governor has already shown he is not shy about change, so in two years we may be looking at a vastly different governance structure for public education in Broward County.

  3. willie says:

    It was a no win situation. Who really should go is Dinnen and Bartleman and Gottlieb, the worst! They are the problem.

  4. Gerry Teriroso says:

    We need to end the parochial single member districts. It is time to think of the whole county rather than neighborhoods. Thinking of only Hollywood got Gottlieb in trouble.

  5. School Man says:

    As a member of Jim Notter’s staff, I can tell you that he is not being given credit for the changes in recent months. A number of the administrators have been changed. Mr. Notter tried to change the system. What was standing in his way was Board members and certain of his staff.

  6. ontheequator says:

    Jim Notter’s problem is that he never learned to herd cats … Jim – enjoy your retirement.

  7. SBEMPLOYEE says:

    If this is really, “One Nation Under God” then why aren’t all of the schools in the nation run the same way. It shouldn’t matter what state you live in all of the requirements should be the same, the students should all learn the same and be tested the same.

    As for Notter….too little too late I’m thinking. He’s been in there since 2006 and NOW he wants to make changes!?!?!?

  8. Chaz Stevens says:


    God is dead, haven’t you heard the news?

    And good fucking riddance if you ask me.

  9. ExCompassionate Conservative says:

    What is going to bug me is how the next candidate will be awarded a Lotto like package of money and benefits. I can’t understand why there is a need for such high pay packages.

    I suggest that we start the revolution in bringing Gov exec salaries back to earth and see what happens. I seriously doubt that in this economy, any candidate will not want to work and if they object, then kiss my tax paying ass and get out of the way for the next candidate.

    These are not Mystical Holy People with magical powers we are hiring as administrators.

    Buddy, do you have facts and figures of the history of compensation for Broward Superintendents and what sort of retirmement package the few year working Mr. Notter will be receiving?

    900 dollars a month car allowance? WTF, don’t they make enough money to buy their own GD car and write off the mileage on their taxes?

    BTW, I have two kids in the public school system and I have been very pleased with their teachers and staff. This is far different than in 1990 when I relocated here and everyone told me that the old retirees would never spend a dime on kids and are very selfish.

    I learned that first hand in a mid 1990 Coconut Creek Library meeting about a penny school tax forum when the retirees in their Caddys and Marquis showed up and told the audience that they would be eating dog food and starving if they had to pay a penny more for those items which were not exempted.

    That was when I first met Buddy from the Sun Sentinel and gained tremendous respect for his knowledge and insight on Broward politics.

  10. Daniel Simpson Day says:

    Ex-compassionate, I don’t know where you live, but the seniors in my community were passing out flyers in support of the “penny for our kids.” I was the only one passing out flyers against it.

    SBEmployee, you are correct. Since 2006 and only now wanting to make changes?? Yeah… Right.

    Equator is right. Notter never learned how to herd cats. He never will. Bye, Bye Jimmy!

  11. Floridan says:

    @ExCompassionate: “I can’t understand why there is a need for such high pay packages.”

    There wouldn’t be if the job didn’t include: no job security, intense scrutiny and no mulligans from the press and so-called activists, 24/7 work week, ever-changing bosses, political pressure, and the need to make everyone happy all the time.

    “…retirees in their Caddys and Marquis showed up and told the audience that they would be eating dog food and starving if they had to pay a penny more for those items which were not exempted”

    My experience has been that retirement communities such as Wynnmoor Village usually support money for education . . . the opposition often comes from the middle-aged conservatives.

  12. The Truth says:

    The Truth says that more will fall after Notter. The winds of change are blowing and School Board members had better decide what side they are on. The Truth says more will fall. More than 100 will be laid off. Others will retire. A house cleaning is coming. That is The Truth.

  13. Good Hiring Advice says:

    Job Description for Broward Schools Superintendent:

    We seek an exceptional CEO level executive who knows how to create and nurture a corporate environment within which educational success can occur. Experience running an educational institution is less important than the ability to turn around a large and complex organization poisoned by mismanagement. We have plenty of people here that know how to educate, what we lack is a high quality management team to lead them. We promise not to interfere with your day to day operations or we agree to pay you three times your salary when you quit. However we will hold you accountable for results and outcomes.

    Broward School Board

  14. Its a Miracle says:

    $90 Million sounds like a huge cut but not when you compare it to the $2B budget. Less than 5%. Every city in the country has cut more than 5%. Every year the student population goes down but every year the budget goes up. Not anymore. If you look at your property tax bill, most people pay more in school taxes than city or county taxes. Ask yourself if you get more value from your city or county or from public schools. The cost of public education per student rivals the best private schools because the BSB is out of control.

  15. ExCompassionate Conservative says:

    Notter will make as much in 3 years as many middle class people will make in 20. Many people also work under the same conditions of not having job security, intense pressure, insane bosses and endless pressure.

    This is public service and I can not understand how we have such incredible salaries and benefit packages where the car allowance alone is greater than the take home of many hard working people.

    Buy or lease your own f’ing car with the 299 thousand yearly salary. This reminds me of a hospital I once worked at where the staff who cooked the meals had to pay for their lunch while the administrators and specialists who made 5 to 10 times their salaries ate for free.

    When I first moved here in 1990 there was a big difference between schools with black or white student bodies. I have no problem with making usre and spending th emoney to make all schools be at the same level. What I heard from many neighbors when I moved hee was that the odler crowd was tired of paying for your kids since they paid for schools up North, thus voted down increasing budgets. One sign of a great area to live is having excellent schools and whatever you think of the spending, I like today better than 1990.

    What I don’t like is a bloated expense for non teaching positions and anything which does not directly effect students in a class. It is ridiculous to have a teacher need to purchase a dime of supplies out of their pocket for their class. I don’t buy supplies for my work and I do not work off hours for free for my employer either.

    Basically, I would like to see a lot of things come back to earth so that tax payers and teachers are not screwed nor set upon each other.

  16. big pay says:

    If you like bloated Government salaries funded by your tax dollars, check out Broward Health’s CEO Frank Nask- $600k per year, plus bonus that averages over 100k, car expense and 1 year severance pkg, regardless of reason for separation, Jim Notter is a bargain!

  17. ExCompassionate Conservative says:

    Exactly big pay. I have disagreements with some of the TEa Party, but I would love to see them go after this lunacy in Broward county and bring the budgets and expenses back to earth.

    My yearly tax bill has a 400 dollar charge for the district and I do not see why you need to pay such large sums for help at the top. There should be plenty qualified applicants .

    Don’t F with pt care and the grunt employees.

    Don’t F with kids and teachers.

    F with the stuff that we hardly see at the top.

  18. District Employee says:

    Frank Nast gets paid a competitive salary considering his responsibilities running four hospitals.

    Health care administrators get a lot of money, which drives up the cost of health care. Something should be done about the whole industry. The District pay is in line with other hospitals in the private and public sector.

    A California-wide survey of 118 nonprofit hospitals showed that base salary for CEOs averaged $514,000, according to Payers & Providers, a healthcare business publication. Add bonuses, retirement money, reimbursement for education costs, and expense accounts, and the average total compensation those CEOs raked in was $732,000.

  19. I'm Just Beachy says:


  20. big pay says:

    Re: District Employee- problem with your facts- These statistics are made up of mostly for profit hospitals, not ones supported by our tax dollars. Also, at the district, you have a CEO at every hosptial. The district is bloated with over paid administrators that take credit for the medical centers success but turn around and blame them for problems- why does the District spend so much in District marketing when it is outsourced? Open the sun sentinel- all ads for the district, usually in competition with their own “sister” hospitals….Taxpayers dollars at work!