School Board Considers Former Board Member For Big Job


The Broward School Board this week widened the field of candidates they would interview for the general counsel’s job to include a former Board member.

The top six candidates were all scored above 60 by a committee.  Number seven got a score of 56.

Number seven is former School Board member Paul Eichner.


Paul Eicher

So what did the School Board do at its meeting Tuesday?  They decided to interview nine applicants rather than six.

Eichner is currently chief  legal counsel for the Florida Department of Health’s Broward office.

It is not that Eichner doesn’t have experience.  He has worked for governments as a legal counsel, but just not a School Board.

A 1987 graduate of Nova Southeastern University’s law school,  Eichner was a Board member from 1998 to 2002.

He quit his Weston-based seat to run against a colleague, countywide member Darla Carter. To be fair, Carter first said she wasn’t running, but then did after Eichner had started his race. 

Carter beat him and he was left with a black eye.  His campaign manager, School Board lobbyist Judy Stern, was accused of distributing phony literature with the endorsements of black leaders, who had really endorsed Carter.

Eichner ran for judge in 2008 with a new campaign manager.  He was crushed by Merrilee Ehrlich by 56-40 percent.

Now he is again looking for a government job.  Board members were very happy to consider him.

He shouldn’t get his hopes up.

Included in the first high-scoring six applicants were J. Paul Carland II, general counsel of the Hernando County School Board, and Sharron M. Pitts, now chief of staff and former general counsel of the Atlanta schools.

Coming in first on the initial interviews was Marylin Batista-McNamara, who worked for retiring General Counsel Ed Marko for many years.

I personally think Batista-McNamara isn’t much of a break with the scandal-tinged past. But the Board members will have to decide whether they really want change.

The Board will interview the top nine applicants including former Board member Eichner and hope to have a new general counsel in place by the summer.  The salary has not been set yet, but Marko was due to get $266,000 as counsel emeritus before he was eased out the door.


UPDATE:  It was pointed out to me by School Board member Ann Murray that one of the members of the screening committee mysteriously low-balled the applicant that ended up in the ninth place.

Paul W. Hunn, who is the general counsel to several Texas school districts, was rated 49 by this committee member.  The others rated Hunn 57 and 58.

Murray wanted to give Hunn a shot, so this is the reason she choose to widen the interview process.

This second member of the committee also rated the Atlanta School official Pitts poorly, with a score of 49.  The other two committee members rated her 70 and 71.

It is not immediately clear who the second member of the screening committee was.

14 Responses to “School Board Considers Former Board Member For Big Job”

  1. Senator John Bluatrsky says:

    Don’t forget Eichner is married to Shelly Eichner, VP at Calvin Giordano & Associates, the big consulting firm that has ties to many cities and the school board. Shelly even chairs a school board committee.

  2. Daniel Simpson Day says:

    Make that “Merrilee” Ehrlich, not Marrilee. Eichner’s “new” campaign manager was none other than David Brown. Marilyn Battista-McNamara is probably the most qualified and will win the competition hands down. Take heart, though. The Board can always take the Grand Jury’s recommendation and choose to have the voters change to an elected Superintendent instead. Eichner can then run for Superintendent. But the downside is that Phyllis Hope can qualify to run as well.

  3. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    To Senator John Bluatrsky:

    You are on point, Senator. That was the first thing that came to my mind, also.

    The next beer is on me, Senator!

  4. watcher says:

    Eicher is straight as an arrow as an attorney and a good litigator…can’t say he handled his politics well in this county but maybe that should qualify him for a position of trust

  5. Kevin says:

    I agree with watcher…. Paul might not have been a very successful politician, but I hear he is a good lawyer, and he seems to be an honest guy.


    I agree with you and Watcher.

  6. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    to Kevin and Watcher:

    The School Board would be wacked to hire Paul, no matter how good an attorney he is. If I was running for school board as a new voice, and one of the 9 sitting up there now voted for Eichner and his wife (because you can’t get away from who she works for and the campaign and charitable money they throw around and that they are married), I would use that against an incumbent school member and just keep repeating over and over “OLD SCHOOOOOOOOOL!”

  7. Hammerhead says:

    C’mon man…anybody who was a Marko enabler should not even be considered during an era in which the school board is trying to re-establish “public trust”. How does hiring a known “yes man” assist in restoring the public trust? It doesn’t! Next…

  8. pineystride says:

    Paul Eichner is a good attorney. But then, so are most of the finalists.

  9. Kevin Tynan says:

    I was concerned when I read the headline 🙂 Paul is a friend from law school and I truly like the interim attorney. That said I tend to agree with Buddy that we need an outsider beholden to no one that can come in and take a fresh look at everything.

  10. Real Job says:

    Eichner needs to get a real job.

  11. Potential Big Mistake says:

    Hiring either Paul Eichner or Marilyn Battista would be a huge mistake. Battista was Marko’s hand picked successor, it would be more of the same hiring her.

    Eichner has had more jobs in the last ten years than most lawyers. He has baggage from the SB, has no real experience in educational law, and is not nearly as qualified as the top few applicants.

  12. Broward Politico says:

    Kevin Tynan and Buddy are right!
    Go with the outsider, the Hernando or Atlanta general counsels.

  13. Hammerhead says:

    Let’s see…ex-school board members and their subsequent jobs:

    Diana Wasserman-Rubin
    Neil Sterling…….

    If Paul Eichner has morals and ethics, why would he even try to go back? Does he believe the rhetoric about restoring the public’s trust that the current organization is spinning?

    It starts with ethical board members, a qualified and ethical superintendent and then a staff held accountable. The board attorney has no jurisdiction in any of those matters. The attorney is only there to deal with legal matters before the board. Period!

    A school board attorney is not going to change the culture. That is the change needed and Batista is not a hands down favorite in that respect. We need someone new and disconnected from the current band of thieves.

  14. Hammerhead says:

    Sorry…forgot Beverly Gallagher.