Ed Marko Quits…Finally!!!!


A lot of people have been waiting for this day for a  long time.

Broward Schools General Counsel Ed Marko will quit December 31.

I find it hard to believe, but change is really coming to the School Board.

Maybe we will get a new general counsel who will go after companies that owe taxpayers money.  Maybe we will get a general counsel who will respect the Sunshine and Public Records Law. 

Maybe, just maybe, we will get a new general counsel who will defend the rights of parents, students and taxpayers rather than cover up for bureaucrats.

Marko is going.  Its like an early Christmas gift to all of us.

He sent a one-sentence memo to members of the School Board and Superintendent Jim Notter stating “Be advised that I withdraw my offer, dated November 29, 2010 and will retire on December 31, 2010.”

Marko’s terse memo comes just days after School Board members refused his Nov. 29 “offer” to extend his contract for another year. 

The math, which for decades had worked in Marko’s favor, had changed.

He lost his most dedicated supporter when member Bob Parks chose not to run for re-election this year. The four new Board members elected last month also wanted a change in general counsel.

After receiving the memo, at least one member worried about how ongoing cases would be handled after December 31.  Marko told Board members earlier in the week that he had made no plans for a successor, even though his contract called for him to plan for a transition.

Members talked about ending his contract for four years, but were unable to make the move.  Marko, along with Parks and his other chief support Maureen Dinnen, always found a way to block his retirement.  

Until today’s memo.

What is not spelled out in the memo is whether Marko will seek to exercise the clause in his current contract, which allows him to stay on as General Counsel Emeritus after he leaves the job as general counsel. 

The contract sets no salary for the emeritus job and one School Board member has suggested paying Marko $1-a-year.

Under terms of his contract, he doesn’t go away empty handed.  He is entitled to a lump sum payment for any unused sick leave, like any other administrator. 

My question is who keeps track of his sick leave?  My guess is that only Marko knows how much sick leave he really took and nobody checked it out.

Marko has been working for the school system since 1968, an era when Republicans controlled the Board and integration was still an issue. For a short profile of Marko I wrote 18 months ago, look at this link.

The Board has been trying to hire a new general counsel for months, but some members accused Marko of thwarting the process by spreading the word that he wasn’t leaving.   

Now with Marko out of the way, expect much more interest in the job.  Members will probably appoint one of Marko’s assistants as the interim general counsel as early as next week.

Marko’s critics — the fmost consistant one was former member Stephanie Kraft, also a lawyer — had a long list of missteps they blamed on him:

*Marko lacked technological skills and failed to update his office.  

*Marko dragged his feet when asked to collect money owed the school system.  He said it was too difficult.

*Marko fought in court against giving schools in minority areas the same resources that were being poured into largely-White areas.

*Marko repeatedly defied the Public Records Law, refusing to turn over public documents numerous times to parents and community groups.

*Marko has allowed the bidding process for huge construction projects to be subverted. He has refused to eliminate legal loopholes and policies that have contributed to inside dealing and wasteful spending.

*Marko has sat silent and never offered objections when Board members wasted tens of millions on shady land purchases, like swamp land.  What happened to due diligence?

*Marko failed to stop the out-of-control special investigations unit of the school system, whose unjust treatment of employees includes bullying of witnesses and violations of the rules of law.

Below is his memo.  Click on it to enlarge it.

17 Responses to “Ed Marko Quits…Finally!!!!”

  1. Lyn says:

    Wow. Good for you, Mr. Marko, and don’t worry about training a successor. Let the know-nothing Board members, Notter and their clueless Human Resource (non) professionals look for a replacement. I am sure they can find someone’s relative or a benefactor with absolutely no experience in education to hire. Yes, my money is on a hand-picked candidate who agrees to rubber stamp everything Notter and the Board proposes.

  2. Nicholas Steffens says:


  3. BCSB Victim says:

    Marko did not speak out against the racism and sexism in hiring and firing that has gone on for years.
    Marko failed to stop department administrators from unethical and illegal layoffs in June.
    Marko allowed Notter to re-write job descriptions in order to appoint unqualified people to high-ranking jobs.
    Where was Marko when Phyllis Hope’s FDLE records were released by the corrupt Keystone Cops at the SIU?
    Why hasn’t Marko insisted on recovering the money that is owed to us taxpayers from the contractors who double-billed for repairs after Hurricane Wilma?
    Why didn’t Marko “just say no” when the Board, after telling Notter that as interim he could not apply for the permanent superintendent’s job only to appoint him to that job later on?
    Did Marko advise the Board or Notter for that matter, that Notter has not lived up to his promise to obtain his doctorate?
    I hope the new Board members insist on going over every decision that has been made over the last 12 months. They will find much corruption if they do.

  4. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Ok so Att.Marko is gone. So to Mrs.Kraft your still going to be tried in court. So all your emails and this and that doedn’t change your status. Why Mrs.Kraft was so concerned I have no idea? Do you Buddy? Also what does Att.Marko leave w/ any big golden parachute deal? Anything over the top? If not let him retire in peace.As far as you are concerned Mrs.Kraft you seem very confident in getting off(not Guilty)-You might but its going to cost you.What I don’t understand is these people make what 10 grand or say under say 100grand to better off themselves financially by doing something they know is not right,do it anyway and then pay some big fancy Att. triple what they originally made off w/ in the first p[lace. So not only do they pay back way more then they took -they also put there freedom in jeaprday. Is it they think they are better then everyone else? or smarter or is it everyone has there head up there but and won’t even bat an eye lash?This is mostly for Eggeltion,Gallagher,etc. not Mrs.Kraft I strongly believe people are innocent until proven guilty. If this pertains to you Mrs.Kraft and you really had nothing to do w/ any of these charges then if this was say all your husband’s dealings then throw him under the bus. Thats if you both did anything wrong in the first place. Good luck..

  5. mike felley says:

    yeahhh he is finally leaving. it is about time. now work can really get done in the legal department. vignola should be appointed because he is the only one with real experience and not his gal-pal marilyn.

  6. Charlotte Brownfart says:

    I think Marko must be senile. With all that blank space on the memo , look where he put his signature.

  7. Not That Simple says:

    Keep digging folks. He has his claws into some other arrangement of that you can be sure. My bet? They will hire a firm to represent them and the firm will hire Marko.

  8. Amazing Karnack says:

    Karnack foretold there would be days like this. Karnack says since it is truly the holiday season let us reflect on the Karnack version of the Clement Clarke Moore classic posted some time ago. Karnack says giving never goes out of season.

    Twas only nights before the arrival, when all through the town
    Not a creature was stirring, not a crook or a clown.
    The posts were all hung by the station with care,
    In hopes that the conductor soon would be there.

    The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
    While visions of indictments danced in their heads.
    And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
    Had just settled our brains for the machine’s long winter’s crap.

    When out on the lawn there arose such a clickity clatter,
    I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
    Away to the window I flew like a flash,
    Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

    The moon on the breast of the new-fallen dew
    Gave the luster of mid-day to objects I was sure that I knew.
    When, what to my wondering eyes should I see,
    But a huge train, with eight diesel engines stretching from here to Kissimmee.

    With a big bold driver, so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it must be the conductor, not just another dick.
    More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
    And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

    “Now Big Cheese! now, Bartman! now, Lurch and Jimmy!
    On, Dr. Green! On, Menace! on Bookem and Barney!
    To the top of the glass tower! to the top of the wall!
    Now go away! Go away! Go away all!”

    As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
    When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
    So up to the station-top the coursers they flew,
    With the train full of puppets, and their masters too.

    And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the track
    The familiar sound of each clickity clack.
    As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
    Through the station the conductor came with a leap and a bound.

    He was dressed all in leather, from his head to his foot,
    And his clothes were all covered with locomotive ashes and soot.
    A bundle of subpoenas he had flung on his back,
    And he looked like a hungry lawman, just planning his next tack.

    His eyes-how they twinkled! his skills and demeanor are something to see!
    His friends and associates are renowned from sea to shining sea!
    His mouth was drawn up tight like a bow,
    And the beard of his chin was all gray from watching the show.

    The stump of a cigar he held tight in his teeth,
    And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
    He had an honest face, not like the one who sits on his hands,
    You know the one with the thumb up his ass, who watches like a groupie in love with the band!

    He was lean and mean and a formidable man,
    And I smiled and acknowledged hey what a great tan!
    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
    Soon gave me to know it was others who had something to dread.

    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
    Distributing plastic bracelets to many a jerk.
    And laying his finger aside of his nose,
    And giving a nod, through the station he rose!

    He sprang to his train, to his diesels gave a whistle,
    And away down the tracks they all raced amid the clamber and bristle.
    But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
    “Happy Arrival to all, and to some a good-night!”

    Karnack foretold he had become a patient man. Karnack says see how they fall one by one. Karnack says old friends no longer want to be associated with members of the machine. Karnack says if the Sailor really thinks Denis the Menace is helping him than the Sailor has just broken the dumb-ass meter. Karnack says there is no cover now and the rats are already running for new friends and a safe place to huddle as the cheese is melting. Karnack says the locomotive breath makes it hard to breath. Karnack says the train goes clickity clack, clickity clack, clickity clack.

  9. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    to the “(not)Amazing Karnack:

    What in the fuck are you rambling about. You have always carried on like you know more, but you don’t and talk in some nonsensical stupid general talk to make it seem like you are in the know (sort of like reading one’s horospcope)…

    shut up and go away, you are really irritating. come back when you can offer something insightful for the first time.

  10. Amazing Karnack says:

    To Stone Cold’s Bottom Line,

    Karnack says thank you, mission accomplished. Karnack says many have asked Karnack to go away over the last five years. Karnack says the only ones leaving are the machinistas. Karnack says the train goes clickity clack, clickity clack, clickity clack.

  11. Hammerhead says:

    Well it was only a matter of time. I wonder if this had anything to do with the FEMA Audit, Kraft arrest, new board members, state wide grand jury, the snubbing of the audit committee or all of the above?

    Marko adds no value to the school board and has been a liability to taxpayers for years. Those who take up for Marko (both of them) would be hard pressed to provide many examples of how his body of work has advanced the mission of the school district (if that mission really involves children). He is and always has been a politician…only a politician. He has provided cover for and added credibility to the pre-determined decisions made by past boards. I say credibility because he has a law degree. Some find that to be impressive and credible. He could have used if for good, but…

    The long arm of the law has put a very large and formerly influential clique of people in an unfriendly and uncomfortable bear-hug. I think they decided it would not be a group hug without Marko. I would not be surprised to find out two years from now that Marko became a star informant for the long arm of the law right around now (Dec. 2010). Beware arrogant folk who thought the feeding frenzy would never end!!!

    That will be bad news for the likes of certain local attorneys, consultants, staffers and vendors in general. Marko has groomed the Vig to prepare contracts and guard the interests of the vendors like a bulldog. Staffers who buy into the protection racket have been rewarded handsomely. It is nice to see that there is any passion there at all, even if misappropriated to the very group who have been gulping mother’s milk to the detriment of the children of Broward county.

    If the new board can just make it a priority to remove the filthy cronies that account for well over 10% of the overall operating budget in the district, there would be some return on investment back to the children. While friends receive benefits-o-plenty, the children and hard working (sizeable percentage) group of the teachers are left out in the cold.

    New board members and recently awakened board members…it is time to terminate the Welfare for the Rich program that has decimated this district and take back what belongs to the people. Remember that there is a never ending history of Broward county being documented and nobody wants to be remembered as a Hun or a Crook in history. Too bad so many did not get that memo until it was too late.

  12. Politico says:

    For this one reason alone, Marko should have been the first fired.

    “Marko has sat silent and never offered objections when Board members wasted tens of millions on shady land purchases, like swamp land. What happened to due diligence?”

  13. Corey Whiner says:

    @Lyn – Re-read your post and maybe you will see why the voters made sure you were NOT elected. Good for them – now go away

  14. Lyn says:

    @Whiner: WTF are you talking about? I was not elected for what, exactly? Hate to disappoint you, but I have never run for anything in my entire life.
    This is a blog, Whiner. A blog is a place for people to post their opinions. That’s how a blog works. If you don’t like it, maybe you should go away.

  15. Hammerhead says:

    No offense @ Corey Whiner, but I get the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. The message could be misunderstood but seems to shine light on the outgoing attorney and the school board’s negligence in really planning for this day and their typical action to plant an insider with less than adequate qualifications. I don’t know much about Lyn, but I got her/his message.

  16. To Not That Simple says:

    To Not That Simple 4:30 p.m. Dec. 3,
    The School Board would not have the balls to hire any firm that would hire Marko.
    What firm would hire Marko anyway, unless he brought with him the promise of a big contract?
    Marko is 76. A new firm could not plan much of a future on anything he signed.

  17. BTYou says:

    As long as the current leaders of the Broward Teachers Union and the federation are in office, there will be no willingness to compromise on any benefits. A $10 payment for insurance by employees every pay period would offset millions in cost and indicate that employees understand what is going on with the economy.
    Union leaders should have term limits.