School Board Back To Step One After Attorney Choice Drops Out


James Stokes, the city attorney in Palm Bay, Florida who was slated to be the new Broward School Board attorney, has decided he doesn’t want the job. 

That puts the School Board back at step one in the process to replace longtime General Counsel Ed Marko.

Stokes dropped out after negotiations with Marko over his future pay and responsibilities.

It is the height of foolishness to allow Marko, who didn’t want to give up his job, to negotiate with his replacement.  Marko has an incentive for the negotiations to fail!

I’ve got an idea.  Let some independent lawyers from the community negotiate the contract, maybe the three attorneys who were on the ethics board — former Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and veteran leading local lawyer W. George Allen.

Marko’s contact expires at the end of the year. 

School Board members are now faced with renewing Marko’s contract, or appointing one of his five associates to the job on an interim basis. They also must begin the search again for a new general counsel.

Marko should not be part of that search.  They should get an outside consultant from another district.

Marko has been with the School Board since 1968.

Jennifer Gottlieb, the School Board’s chair, said that the decision on what to do about the Board’s chief attorney should not be debated until four new members are sworn in next Tuesday. was first to report that Marko was seeking an extension to his contract on tomorrow’s School Board agenda, one week before the new Board members take their seats.  That appointment of Marko to train Stokes the high points of education law was pulled off the agenda after the report.

Now this latest development will require the new Board members to make a serious decision affecting the future of the school system within hours of taking office.  It was reported on first, too.

4 Responses to “School Board Back To Step One After Attorney Choice Drops Out”

  1. GET RID OF MARKO says:

    What is wrong with these people? Marko is not indispensable, nobody is. Buddy’s committee idea makes total sense. Release Marko and move on toward a fresh start.

  2. Sunrise parent says:

    Once again, Jennifer Gottlieb comes off as the voice of reason while Marko, Notter and the rest of the administrators look like they don’t get it.
    I hope the new Board member Laurie Levinson who I voted for will finally make it clear to them that they work for us and for the elected School Board, which voted to end Marko’s contract.

  3. Marko must go says:

    Well, who can be surprised by this? Marko never wanted to leave, so he made sure that he was the one to negotiate with his replacement and probably convinced Stokes to drop out.

    Jennifer should not be praised, as Chair she should have made sure that Marko was not doing the negotiations.

    I hope they are all very happy now as they have ensured that Marko is there at least another year, if not indefinitely.

    The new board needs to NOT approve another one year extension, appoint the senior attorney in his office as interim and immediately start another search. Only with Marko gone will there be a chance to get some qualified applicants.

  4. Jeanne Jusevic says:

    I am just shaking my head. Good advice goes unheeded and these fiascos just keep coming.

    It is time to let Marko’s contract exprire and allow one of the current attorney’s take over on an interim basis.

    Who knows they may find a jewel like they did when promoting Tom Linder.

    This just can’t be that difficult.