E-Mail Details Candidate’s Run-In With School Staff


Before he was a School Board candidate, Nick Sakhnovsky was head of the Facilities Task Force demanding change in how the school’s business was done.

He was no diplomat, according to this e-mail from the late Michael Garretson, deputy superintendent for facilities.

I personally know how frustrating the school system can be when asked to produce public records.  About the only thing school system bureaucrats have perfected are ways to hide information. 

That is no excuse for abusing clerks and secretaries. 

After reading this e-mail, I’ve got a message for Nick:

You’ve got to pick your targets, pal.  Clerks and secretaries are just following orders. 

By all means,  yell at the higher ups. If elected, you’ll have plenty of opportunity. Maybe that is what school system needs.  

Readers can decide for themselves whether Sakhnovsky has the temperament to be a School Board member.  Here is the e-mail:

Message Nov 3, 2009 11:24 AM
From:           Michael Garretson
To:             James F. Notter Board Members 11/7/08
Cc:             Board Members’ Secs 1/8 Vicki Horton    Juanita L. Pringle
Subject:        Nick Sakhnovsky

This morning Nick Sakhnovsky, chairman of the FTF, appeared unannounced at the HORTT facility and demanded documents from the clerical staff.  When informed of the proper procedures for requesting information, he became loud and abusive to staff.  I escorted him off campus and said that I would call security if he returned.

Michael C. Garretson
Deputy Superintendent
Facilities & Construction Management
1700 SW 14th Court
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
(754) 321-1510
(754) 321-1681 (FAX)

24 Responses to “E-Mail Details Candidate’s Run-In With School Staff”

  1. justme says:

    Well, that gives us a lot of confidence in Sakhnovsky. Loud and abusive to staff as a nobody, I’d hate to know what he’d think of himself as a somebody.

  2. Floridan says:

    Anyone who treats secretary and clerks in an abusive manner is a self-important bully.

  3. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    Hi again, Buddy. Indeed I remember this day very well, and in fact I went straight to Mr. Notter, who apologized to me for what happened. My beef was with Mr. Garretson, not his staff; the email was probably sent as I was speaking to Mr. Notter. In fact, for the entire time I have been on Facilities Task Force and in all other volunteer areas, the staff at the support levels have been extremely courteous and helpful to me, and I apologize if I have ever offended. In this case, unfortunately Mr. Garretson has passed away. I thought he was very, very intelligent, but there were times he was not at his best. We are all, of course, human — including me.

    Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

  4. Another Voice says:

    not to pile on to a dead guy, but Garrettson has shown a lot worse character flaws than Sakhnovsky has…I’d be willing to give Sakhnovsky the benefit of the doubt that it didn’t go down exactly as Garrettson portrayed it. PS Since when do you have to set an appointment to request public records> He came unannounced? Good! less chance of omissions or doctored files

  5. Smart move says:

    The last time I checked, when you give your enemy or opposition notice that you will be appearing it doesn’t usually go in your favor. Nick’s unannounced visit was probably just him wanting to appear and ask for something, no big deal, however if he had announced himself that certainly gives other’s time to prepare and by prepare I mean, lose, doctor or conveniently misplace what he would have been searching for. Keep up the good fight Nick.

  6. sofedup says:

    Sakhnovsky hit a very sensitive nerve that day…the QSEC corruption that he witnessed firsthand. That’s why they gave him the runaround and stonewall. And if you think it was only Facilities that was involved and all the bad guys have been caught, you’ve got another think coming. Garretson wrote that email to cover and send out a straw man to avert attention from what was going on. Don’t be fooled again; Sakhnovsky didn’t abuse anyone.

  7. loser says:

    isnt this the same guy who ran for city commission x2 and got like 2 votes?

  8. Broward Voter says:

    I met Nick the other day and I just didn’t get that impression that he’s that type of bully to staff. He was just so nice to those around him and no…he wasn’t even campaigning at the time. He was kinda minding his own business. Very sweet person. Just wish he was independent of a BTU endorsement. You know?

  9. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    Hi again – a couple of quick things: first, please know there were no promises made and no assurances asked for or given to BTU. Second, please note the date of Mr. Garretson’s email — post Gallagher arrest. What was I requestng? The list of each and every individual who had ever been on a QSEC — the committee which selected contractors over the past 5 or so years for nearly $2 billion in projects. In fact, support staff had provided the information I requested — as they always had in the past (and I always came in unannounced), and were explaining the codes to me (yes, it is in code). Then a senior person — no clerical staff by any stretch — asked me to return the document to correct some “errors.” I complied, and then was told I needed to make an official records request for the information I had just been given! I immediately called the school board attorney, and that’s when Mr. Garretson appeared. Bottom line: I went straight to Mr. Notter as I explained earlier, the board attorney’s office agreed with me that no official request was needed (I made one anyway since I was already downtown by then), and five days later I was given the exact same document I started out with — no corrections. Do I think it was about QSEC? Yes. Is the information still being reviewed? Yes. Am I the only one reviewing it? No.

  10. Mary Thompson says:

    Remember Nick is running against incumbent Jen Jen Gottlieb…………

    FROM BUDDY: What I find interesting is that Gottlieb worked for the BTU before she won office. She obviously has annoyed them by not voting for their ridiculous pay raise request. That’s a good thing.

  11. No Nonsense says:

    Is this guy the Tea Bagger running against Gottlieb?

  12. JustLooking says:

    Mr. Sakhnovsky – thank you for your posts, but I have one question that I have not seen answered in your posts. Were you “loud and abusive to staff” on the morning of November 3, 2009? If so, which staff? Is that what you are apologizing for in your above post if you “ever offended?” It is important to know what kind of tempermant you have. Thank you.

  13. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    To respond to questions above:
    1. No, I am not a teabagger (there is a third candidate in the countywide district 8 race who self-identifies with the “Tea Party”).
    2. No, on that day I wasn’t happy at my treatment (hence the calls and visit downtown), but I do not feel I was “loud and abusive.” I offer a general apology if anyone thought I ever was at any time, however, because I myself do not like loud and abusive behavior. In life in general I have noticed that sometimes when there are tough questions or fear of consequences, questioners are sometimes interpreted as being loud and abusive even if they have not been or intended to be. By the way, the first I ever knew of the email was seeing it here in Buddy’s report. I was not cc’d at the time.


  14. Frank White says:

    to calling somebody a “teabagger” an appropriate description to use in front of students?

  15. Jeanne says:

    I have worked with Nick off and on for years. What I have observed is that Nick can be quiet brusk and border line rude when aggravated. The things that aggravate Nick are things like being given the run around, being lied to, especially when both parties know what is being promolgated as fact is a lie or half truth.

    I saw real growth in Nick as a leader and advocate during his time as FTF chair and beleive he would make a good school board member.

    The only criticism I have is he tends to get bogged down in minutia that isn’t all that important. He is learning to consider all sides. I beleive he can be an effective at large Board member who will remember he represents the entire county.

  16. former Facilities Task Force member says:

    I served with Nick on the FTF. Yes, he is/was loud and abusive at times. Even bullying. Most of the people on the FTF had a problem with his personality. Maybe he comes from a good place in his heart, but his approach leaves much to be desired. Quick to anger, short fuse…you get the picture. I could see him being described as a “bully.” Also, Gallagher’s arrest was in late September. This is early November. Finally, if Garretson had to “escort him off campus” his behvavior must have been pretty bad.

  17. Broward CleanSweep says:

    Ah, the usual game. Really? Anyone wonder why so many connections between developers and construction companies and the FTF and the SBBC and DAC? Wonder why the former redevelopment director of Lennar ( who wrote PUD) is head of Principal and Asst Group at SBBC? Why the former top dog at ARVIDA is now head of FL Ethics Commission? Wonder why SBBC wants to take more property tax from you? Ever wonder about the InterLocal Agreement?

  18. mustbecrazy says:

    What is the InterLocal Agreement?

  19. Fan of Robespierre says:

    Garretson was a bought and paid for liar. I would never believe anything he said. He was a tool of the local political lobbyist developer contractor machine. This incident is so typical of the way the machinistas close ranks. These people will lie and obstruct and confuse and then call you names for getting upset. If Nick pissed off Garretson then he has my vote. No offense but anyone would be better than Jen Jen or the teabagger. The whole Board is corrupt. They are why I am a fan of Robespierre.

  20. Jeanne says:

    As usual CleanSweep knows nothing.
    There are no developer connections with current District Advisory Council. DAC is a creation by school board policy for input and infomation from parents and community members. Facilities Task Force is another school board created committee of which most membership are embers of the community who want to serve and watch dog the Board on the Facilities end. SO, it may be some of the distant members of DAC went on to be developers and such but they were parents who had kids in school who were volunteering.

    Sorry you have such a problem with people who have kids in school wanting to volunteer to amke a difference with no compemsation involved.

    BTW CLeanSweep do you have kids? Do they go to public school? If so where?

  21. Billy says:

    I don’t trust candidate Robert Sutton for his ties to “unsavory” politicians and their scandals.
    Anyone who’s in tight with Kraft is a no-vote for me.

  22. Concerned Broward Parent says:

    This “gaming” played by CleanSweep and Jeanne is interesting.

    I admire those who are honestly running for office to try and improve the SBBC. I also think they must have a screw loose somewhere to even consider it.

    The nepotism, good ol’insider Broward network, sunshine ducking,”ethics” being spouted politicians need to all go. Jail is good, retirement is good, being ousted in an election? great.

    Cockroaches scurry when light is shined on them. Keep the spotlights on the incumbents as they are trying to shift the attention and rumors and lies towards the newcomer opponents. Keep that light on the incumbents. Those who are not afraid will hold their ground. BYW, I don’t consider Tynan an incumbent. Not until next term ends.

    Keep up the good work you newcomers. Keep walkin’ and talkin’!

  23. Concerned Broward Parent says:


    You usually “call it like you see it”.

    Make sure you let the few neophites reading your blog that these reports need to be taken in context and that it is all being done to discredit others to hopefully gain more votes. Votes that help win an election where the real money is made and we all know it’s not “for the kids”.

  24. Level Headed Parent says:

    A big problem with elections in this country is people vote based on marketing campaigns – If you are going to vote for or against a candidate please research more than ONE email written by someone about someone else as the reason you vote – If that is the level of research you will do as voter, do me and everyone a favor just don’t vote.

    I am not for or against this candidate, I am doing research on all candidates for the Broward Schools District 3 election because the outcome is important to my kids’ education. I am sure that both Heather & Sam (listed in no particular order) have short comings as does Nick but the weight of all of their resumes and your individual beliefs and values should lead you to the candidate of YOUR choice.