Murray Admirable, But Might Break Law


School Board member Ann Murray stand is admirable.

ann murray broward schools

Ann Murray

She has pledged not to vote on a contract for a firm that threw her a campaign fund raiser.

The problem is that Murray might be breaking the law.

The law in question is Florida Statute 286.012.  It requires Board members to vote on any question when there is no unlawful conflict.

Taking campaign money from a firm and then voting for it is not a conflict in Florida.   

So it appears to me that Murray is breaking the law by not voting. The story about her stand is by Patricia Mazzei in The Miami Herald here.

I would suggest Murray do what Broward county commissioners have done for years take a rest room break when the item comes up.

When I first covered the county commission, I thought it was strange that so many commissioners seemed to have serious bladder problems. 

Several were constantly popping up and leaving the room for a bathroom break.

It didn’t take me more than one or two meetings to realize–they were avoiding voting on items.

In the case of the commissioners, they were deliberately leaving for the rest room to avoid exposing their conflicts.  The law requires anyone abstaining fill out a form stating their conflict of interest.

In Murray’s case, the reason for going to the rest room would be different. She could duck the vote,  hold her head up high and avoid breaking any law.

Maybe you think the law governing conflicts should be expanded to include campaign contributors. Don’t hold your breath.

The Legislature makes laws. If it was a conflict to vote on anything involving a campaign contributor, the Legislature could hold a session one day a year.

6 Responses to “Murray Admirable, But Might Break Law”

  1. Kwitcherbelyaken says:

    Murray is doing this simply because the Teachers Union is demanding an investigation. Why? They want to stop the building of the classrooms so they can demand the money for raises this year.

    This is the very same teacher union that cheats younger teachers out of a real living wage while giving teachers over step 18 6, 8, and 9 thousand dollar raises.

    The union is corrupt. Knowing that fact, if Murray is forced to either recuse herself from the vote or miss it as you suggest, then each member of the board who takes union money for campaigns would be in the same boat.

    Those members should take a “bathroom break” when the teacher contract comes up for a vote.

  2. Angry Taxpayer! says:

    If all the school board members recused themselves from votes that are cast that affect their campaign contributors, NONE of them would be able to vote on ANYTHING. They’d be useless!!!!

    We don’t pay them to take bathroom breaks, and duck votes. We pay them to become informed and make tough decisions. They create their own situations and circumstances. If they make the wrong decisions, they shouldn’t be able to get a bye by recusing themselves.

    You need to publish a list of those who did recuse themselves and those who should have. This information would inform the electorate if SB members crossed the line and how often.

  3. Kwitcherbelyaken says:

    I happen to agree with Angry Taxpayer. The point is the stupidity of the Teacher Union demanding an investigation over a campaign donor.

    Sterling, too. The fact that Sterling raised thousands for Board members and others doesn’t make him a criminal.

    I think Buddy’s point is that lobbyists have too much influence. But then, nature abhors a vacuum. Community groups should be actively lobbying as well.

    But I still stand by my statement. What’s good for one is good for the other. If Murray removes herself from the vote (recuse, bathroom break or however) then the board members who accept money from the teachers union should be required to do the same.

  4. Resident says:

    Though not required, I have seen some disclose a contribution before voting, since they are required to vote. The disclosure is not required though.

  5. The Broward Teacher's Union says:

    Frustrated that they are getting nowhere, BTU will now take the predictable step of trying to get those elected officials into trouble. It’s childish in a way and understandable in another. To be sure none of those officials should be worried if they have nothing to hide. Make no mistake however, the BTU’s fangs are out and they are hunting down the elected officials that have dared not to make them happy.


    And the children and others we entrusted to them… it is a pre-k through adult education system we have here! What of them? In spite of of ALL THIS CONSTANT UNREST, they are EXPECTED to not be affected and perform at top levels. So then, who needs the unions or the upper levels of administrators and those greedy and often ineffective teachers who refuse to do what is in the best interest of those they are hired to educate?
    Re thinking the entire system is what is needed = fast. Re-establish it the way we know, through comparative studies, it will work. Monitor it closely and hold all to the same accountability standards.NO matter who they are.