School Board Attorney’s Big Contract Cancelled…For Now


School Board Chair Jenniefer Gottlieb on Friday removed a $266,664 contract for the outgoing School Board attorney from next week’s agenda.

Jennifer Gottlieb

Gottlieb acted after revealed that longtime Board General Council Ed Marko was going to be awarded the year-long deal at the last meeting before the new Board is sworn in.

Consideration of the new contract with Marko is now delayed.

Marko’s contract was on next week’s agenda.  Four new members of the Board will be sworn in a week later on Nov. 16.

“We should wait until the new Board is seated,” Gottlieb said Friday evening.

The contract appointed Marko “general counsel emeritus  and gave him a year to teach new legal head James Stokes the ropes.  Stokes is a former California police officer and a city attorney in Palm Bay, Florida, but has no real experience with education law.

Here is’s original story.

27 Responses to “School Board Attorney’s Big Contract Cancelled…For Now”

  1. Lpeerman33063 says:

    Good call Ms Gottlieb.

  2. When You're Right says:

    Thank God for you, Buddy, and Mike Mayo.

  3. Jeanne Jusevic says:

    Good move! Now I think this wil be iron in the District best interests.

  4. detime says:

    Gottlieb has a conscience. Hope her heart is on track too. Good Job!

  5. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    You did the right thing, Jennifer. I’m thinking that you’ll do the same thing with the contract for the proposed new general counsel that was supposed to be on the same agenda.

  6. Hammerhead says:

    Ms. Gottlieb…credit where credit is due. This move may have saved the whole county much unnecessary chaos. Now the new board can either dispose of the misdirected idea or own it themselves.

  7. Lori Parrish says:

    Good call Jennifer.


  8. OlderButWiser says:

    Good for you, Ms. Gottlieb. You seem to be the only one who understands we’re mad and not going to take it anymore. But I have a question: why is the Board hiring an attorney with no education law experience?

  9. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    Ditto — good to see proactive leadership!

  10. GottBullshit? says:

    yes give credit where credit is due. proactive? propolitic. praise gottboob and forget she was with queen krafty & pushed to hire because the new board would be too dam stupid to know what was good for them and NOW she says they should pick? praise her & forget it was the doctor do-little that told them hiring a new one right now was stupid and the same $ as paying 5 teachers. praise be to gottboob. hunka hunka gottshit.

  11. Sue Gunzburger says:

    Excellent catch Jennifer. We are waiting to even interview our new attorney until after the new board is seated.

  12. Goldbricker says:

    I would love to know how this guy stokes got the job. There were some really well qualified attorneys interviewed who had school experience who didn’t make the final cut and this guy ends up with the job? And he gets to have marko coach him for a year? What a bunch of bull crap? I have it on good authority that the best qualified guy dropped out and stokes got it on default. There were way more qualified attorneys than stokes who were interviewed initially. They should go back and interview the other four attorneys in front of the full board.

  13. Hold on a minute ! says:

    The negotiations on Stokes’ contract need to be cancelled, and that whole process of selecting a new attorney should be started over, with participation by the new board members. This time, with interviews of several well-qualified candidates, not the simple shoo-in of somebody’s friend who can be counted on to play along and cover up.

  14. G.B. says:

    Good move Jen.

    Anything long term should be decided by the new board.

    Now Marko needs to go and so does Notter.

    And why can we not find an experienced attorney? Paying someone to “train” does not seem right.

  15. Hold on a minute ! says:

    Also, nobody said the outrageous contract with Marko was cancelled. Presentation for board approval was simply postponed until after Stokes’ contract is negotiated. Go on the school board eagenda and view the memo requesting that the item be removed from this week’s agenda.
    Merely a minor speedbump.

    FROM BUDDY: It was cancelled from consideration.

    Either Notter is lying or Gottlieb is. Gottlieb told me she requested it be taken off. I know others requested this, too.

    Notter’s memo states the item was withdrawn because the contract with the new attorney was not completed. He must have known that contract wasn’t completed when he put it on the agenda. He must have know the contract wasn’t completed before wrote its story Thursday.

    Also, Notter’s timing is, ah, interesting. It comes less than 24 hours after broke the story and less than 12 hours after he was asked to pull it off the agenda.

    Also, the memo itself makes no sense. It says the contract will be finalized Nov. 8. That’s one day before the old Board was originally going to consider the Marko item. So why the delay?

    I believe Notter is lying.

    He triggered a public relations disaster and won’t admit it.

    This leads me to another observation about the school system administration. They have the inability to admit mistakes. They spin. They obfuscate. But they never concede they do anything wrong.

    The fact is that they do a lot wrong. I believe the public would agree with me.

    Earlier this year, the Legislature approved a bill which would have held teachers accountable for the progress of the students. Crist vetoed it.

    The bill should have held Notter and the ne’er do wells that surround him accountable for the progress of the system. If that was the case, they would be out of a job.

  16. Jeanne Jusevic says:

    The School Board doesn’t stop its business because there is a new Board in place on the 16th of Nov.
    Mr. Stokes went through a good process , was vented through Legal Services Committee and was approved by them. Why should he be penalized because this has become a political football? PLus it will cost money that could be better served else where.

    Marko doesn’t a year for transistioning the office. Three months tops and that is pushing it.

  17. Hammerhead says:

    Jeanne Jusevic,

    It was not a good process. The legal services committee was is made up of who??? Kraft, Parks, Gottlieb, Notter and Marko.

    You tell us how many relavent stakeholders are included in the review and narrowing process.

    Kraft is up on charges, Parks is so disconnected he won’t even answer to why he voted on the Chaits’ item, Marko is on the way out and should be used sparingly in the process (and stands to gain from his input), and that leaves Notter and Gottlieb. They were the last officials to touch this and they tried to ram it through while trying to turn a blind eye.

    By the way, the term is “vetted” and that is only in case you made a typo. Otherwise, if you aspire to be a board member some day, you need to properly pronounce the “buzz” words.

    This item, if ever brought back to the board, should not be allowed to go as a consent agenda item. It should allow opportunity for public input with or without Notter’s agreement. The attorney has arguably cost taxpayers a lot of money due to slow response, vendor friendly practices, etc.

    We all know BS when we see and hear it these days. I have to call BS on you and your status quo maintaining actions. For political purposes, you might want to take a new approach, as these antics will not provide a positive outcome in future elections for keepers of the status quo.

    GOOD JOB BUDDY!!!!!!

  18. Amazing Karnack says:

    Karnack foretold that the days of the puppets ramming crap down the public’s throat are over. Karnack says behold the evidence. Karnack says Don Jimmy made his last act of quid pro quo for the puppets. Karnack says it is time for Scorekeeper to tell us how many dirty deeds Don Jimmy has done without being held accountable. Karnack says just in case we all got amnesia. Karnack says the hot hot Jennifer got lots is up to her neck in this deal and is no hero. Karnack says Don Jimmy’s memo is interesting since he told his senior staff at ELT, Executive Lackofleadership Turmoil that he didn’t give a shit about what anybody thought about the item, it was his item and if people didn’t like it, tough shit. Karnack says what Don Jimmy needs to wonder is was it live or was it Memorex.

    Karnack says Hammerhead hit the nail on the head. Karnack says the big cheese lady, Dr. green, Hot hot and Don Jimmy somehow managed to whittle more than 30 applicants down to one with no experience to negotiate with. Karnack says of course we need Marco Polo to stay around to help the poor bastard. Karnack says it makes perfect puppet sense. Karnack says hot hot and the Don are the only people who can make the agenda happen and they made sure it got on the agenda at the last minute. Karnack says that ain’t no mistake and even the big cheese lady’s former supporter buddy called it like it he knows what both of their stories are, a lie. Karnack can’t help but wonder what happened to that illustrious cadre of staff attorneys who are so good they needed a two year deal instead of the one year contract like all of the other poor slobs. Karnack says none of them good enough or is it none of them are willing to provide the kind of cover the ancient one gave the puppets. Karnack says how do you say it buddy, hmmmmmmmm.

    Karnack says Don Jimmy likes to refer to the District as a team. Karnack wonders what the Don has been smoking. Karnack says you can’t rule everybody with fear and intimidation and expect those people to like it and remain loyal to you or think they are part of a team. Karnack foretold that the machine would begin to devour itself. Karnack says behold the feast. Karnack says we haven’t even gotten to the main course yet. Karnack says Don Jimmy’s bad breath is all around us. Karnack says the train goes clickity clack, clickity clack, clickity clack.

  19. NoseBleedSeats says:

    Good Job Jen? Pulling an item after the PR nightmare has begun is considered a good job, good leadership? Doing the right thing now requires praise from everyone? Hey Jen, good decision making! Much better than all that crap with your banker man. I’m sure the Judge would agree with me.

  20. Hold on a minute ! says:

    All this fuss is over the November 9 H-1 agenda item approving Marko’s new contract.

    This same November 9 board meeting agenda contains item CC-4, which is the second reading of the job description for the special “emeritus” position they created just for Marko. To keep Marko a board employee, they had to create a position for him, with a job description. This is really the point of no return that insures the success of this plot, and the approval of this job description and creation of the “emeritus” position is what needs to be stopped before the board meeting Tuesday. CC-4 is the item that really needs to be removed from the agenda !

  21. PandaBear says:

    “The contract appointed Marko “general counsel emeritus” and gave him a year to teach new legal head James Stokes the ropes. Stokes is a former California police officer and a city attorney in Palm Bay, Florida, but has no real experience with education law.”

    Say WHAAAAAAAATTT????????

    When we all go on interviews if we don’t know what’s going on, that’s it! We can “hear” the interviewing yelling NEEEXXXT!!!! We can tell with the look on the face, and all other secotros of body language that that’s it.

    Why is it Broward Schools hires someone who has no clue of what’s going on? At our expense!!

  22. Rastas says:

    It’ll be more money to fund JenJen’s romantic out-of-town getaways on the public dime.

  23. rayboyusmc says:

    How much is Mr. Marko already getting from his DROP program?

    I will wager it is more than 260k.

    If there were not a free press and people who check these things out, they would have gotten away with this.

    Time for Mr. (I still don’t have my Doctorate and I served as the interim so I can’t be hired permanently) Notter to go away.

  24. Jeanne Jusevic says:

    It goes on the aganda. The Board creates the consent agenda through it’s pulling of items for discussion. I am quite sure a board member will pull this item for discussion, when it makes it back on the agenda.

    It is my understanding that he has the requisite knowledge and has what the legal office is lacking, labor relations law. I don;t this guy but he has been working for the Board as a cadre attorney.

  25. Neil Watcher says:

    Am sure Neil Sterling has had his hands in this deal. Anything connected with $$ is the litmus test and this one passes. Keep alert. Neil Sterling is still part of the puppetry arts going on in the school board offices. Especially with Notter. Keep your eyes on future agendas. More items on the way with Neil’s name connected to them.

  26. Charlotte says:

    Uh, Jeanne, it’s “vetted” not “vented.” Also, saying this guy stokes is qualified because he was a “cadre” atty is like saying because someone is a magistrate for a code enforcement board, that makes them qualified to be a city attorney. Big difference between being a school board attorney and a cadre atty. It does makes sense though now WHY he got the position and thank you for enlightening us, Jeanne. He knew Notter and Marko beforehand and was willing to kiss their asses to get the job. All the other attys interviewed were way better qualified than this guy and this guys is the ONLY candidate that made it to the final interview? Seriously…that is ridiculous.

  27. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    I’m not the “Charlotte” who blogged Nov. 8 at 10:47 a.m. I’d appreciate it if you would find a different name to use in blogging.