School Board Farce Continues


Does the Broward School Board know no shame?

Apparently not.

Members Benjamin Williams, Maureen Dinnen, Bob Parks, Ann Murray and Kevin Tynan yesterday voted to steer a new job worth probably $266,000 to long-time General Counsel Ed Marko.

Parks and Tynan are leaving and this gift to Marko was their last big vote.

The five refused to wait for four new Board members to be seated.  Instead they approved creation of the job title of General Counsel Emeritus, a job Marko can fill when he leaves his general counsel post.

Robin Bartleman and Phyllis Hope wisely voted against the move preferring to wait until the new Board is seated.

Incoming members Patti Good and Dave Thomas spoke, asking the Board to delay consideration of the item.  They were ignored!

What did the five fools approve?

Read the job requirements below.   What job requires 25 years experience?

Not President of the United States.

Not county manager or police chief or even professor at a local university.

Talk about steering a job.  Who has 25 years experience “in the field related to the title of the position”  except Marko, who first came to the district in 1968?

Robert Vignola, who is Marko’s long-time assistant, has been a lawyer since 1983, but I don’t know if he has been constantly an education lawyer. 

Why even bother with this farce of a  job description?  They need it to insure the process allows nobody but Marko to be hired.

It is charades like this that causes people to lose trust in the School Board. That is, if anybody still trusts the Board.

The good news is that the Board didn’t fill the job today.  The ball will now be in the new members’ court.

Spending the kind of money for what amounts to a second general counsel while there are cutbacks in the classrooms is typical of this Board.

What kind of a track record does Marko have to deserve this?

Not great. 

He fought in federal court against offering the same education in minority schools as white schools.  He lost that one.

He refuses to collect money owed the district by corporations, who happen to be big campaign contributors.

He’s a hack who needs to retire.

The school system deserves better.  Then again, the school system deserves better than Ben Williams Maureen Dinnen and, I say this sadly, Ann Murray. 

I think if the Board has $266,000 to waste, maybe the Republicans have it right.  This Board will never change until Tallahassee squeezes the money out of it and forces change.

Below is the first page of the job description.  Notice the experience required.  (Click to enlarge)

33 Responses to “School Board Farce Continues”

  1. karma will get Bob Parks says:

    Well said Buddy. I was sitting there today watching this and shaking my head. Bob seemed so obsessed with getting this passed today. He couldn’t even sit in his chair he was so animated about this. Walking to and fro and in and out of the dais area…Is he in cahoots with Ed Marko? Why the rush? Didn’t matter that Patti Good and Dave Thomas were against it. BTU and DAC were also against it. There was also someone else as well. Of course, it fell on deaf ears. Somehow today, it was incredibly important to get this passed. Marko deserves a consultant position and that’s it. Let the new attorney take over. Marko it’s time for you to go. So much can be done with that money. So many teachers can be hired.

  2. S only says:

    I thought if you were in DROP, you have to wait 6 MONTHS before being re-hired.

    Do you know how many teachers or teacher’s aides that money could bring to the schools?

    I am just DUMBFOUNDED by the lack of intelligence of those 5 members of the school board. This makes them look really bad. Make one of the 5 lawyers an interim and scrap the “Emeritus” position completely. Use the $ somewhere else, even if it gives the teachers a nickel raise.

    Administration is top heavy anyway. Way, way too many of them.

  3. Stephanie Kraft says:

    Kevin really missed the boat on this one. He kept saying, it’s just a job description, let it go forward. But the point that was missed is that there were some duties in the job description for the Emeritus position that were not even in the job description for the General Counsel position!

    Maybe the new board members will not want to include all those duties in the Emeritus’s job description.

    This should have been deferred. It was a real slap in the face to the four new members. Way to create cohesion and foster a collegiate working environment. Guess that was their “welcome to the board” from the current members. Talk about starting off on the wrong foot.

  4. FactSayer says:

    This is so disgusting. I was a victim of School Board politics in June when I was laid off by Notter and his corrupt, incompetent administrators.

    Despite the lies you hear from the Board, many of us were not called back – even though that was what should have been done with the Obama stimulus money. Many of us had great evaluations and 10 to 15 years more seniority than other co-workers who were kept on because they had connections, or they were “go out to lunch buddies” with the decision-makers.

    The Board members who voted for this new position, with Jim Notter’s blessing, should be real proud of themselves for manipulating the layoffs to favor their cronies and breaking our union contracts to hurt innocent people.
    They could have called back at least five of us for Marko’s $267,000 compensation. Instead the BCSB continues to waste money while schools lack basic supplies and its former (victims) employees are losing their homes. I don’t know how these people sleep at night.

  5. outraged citizen says:

    Please look up the meaning of emeritus. It doesn’t mean new job. It means to retire, remove, be gone!!!

  6. Hammerhead says:

    This is just more evidence, if more was needed, proving that Notter and the board are beyond arrogant. If (suppose for a minute it is) the emeritus position is so important to create as a job description, why was it imperative that it be passed today? It could just as easily been discussed during the upcoming meeting on the 19th by the new board. This is simple really. It is called quid pro quo.

    Stephanie Kraft, you stated in the paper that you were going to be dropping some serious knowledge on us taxpaying, current events following sheep (my words, not Krafts). So when can we expect the information that you were planning to share? I am very interested to hear from someone with your experience and background.

    Look people, the only way for the money to continue to flow in the intended direction is to have Marko in his spot or overlooking the new (like there will ever be a new attorney until Marko dies) guy’s shoulder.

    Mark it down. Marko is the cornerstone of the local machine where the school board dollars are concerned. It is sad that they are so blinded by greed and arrogance that they can’t see what is just around the corner.

    Ms. Kraft, I would love to hear your comments. I think you stated that you’d share with us in response to a story that the sun sentinel did on how so much of the construction work was being funneled to “special” companies with “special” lobbyists. Care to share?

  7. Sunrise parent says:

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
    I hope Laurie Levinson is reading this and takes notice that we are sick of this kind of conduct. If these were my children, they would end up in Time Out.

  8. Lori Parrish says:

    Can the new members bring this issue up for reconsideration at the next board meeting? The School Board members are constitutional officers. Are they, like the rest of us, not allowed to contract beyond their term of office?

  9. CoCo Kreak says:

    Of all the disappointments, Maureen Dinnen… so sad to have her career slowly drop to the dumps like this kind of sleeze.
    So sad…..
    And, Williams just does as told.

  10. Git R Done says:

    Re: CoCo Kreak:
    Please, none of them know a thing about Marko since he’s been there to long. Dinnen is a dipshit and doesn’t know jack from shit, but thinks she does… NOT
    Williams is getting like Parks. They need to get a life and take their job seriously, just let him go for pete’s sake!
    Vignola is qualified for the job, what is the big deal people?
    Geez, grow up will ya!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I agree with CoCo Kreak and Git R Done.
    DINNEN is the BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT. She has deteriorated into an apologist for what is wrong with the Board like Marko. Previous she would fight for our children and teachers.
    She is the next who needs to go now that Bob “Go Along” Parks is out the door.

  12. Willie Stark says:

    What about Jen Jen Gottlieb missing the meeting because of “a doctor’s appontment” ! For goodness sake show some responsibility from the chair and schedule your personal appointments for outside of school board meetings. The School Board has a bigger budget than most banana republics and its leaders are as bad a bunch as you would find in the worst banana republic around.

  13. Amazing Karnack says:

    Karnack says the Big Cheese Lady questioning a puppets actions after the fact. Karnack says what’s new. Karnack says if the Big Cheese wants to make up for the damage done by the coallition she needs to come to the hoop with more than that. Karnack says come on Big Cheese lay the whole story on us. Karnack says let’s talk about the layoff vendettas. Karnack says let’s talk about health insurance. Karnack says let’s talk about the QSEC. Karnack says so many things to discuss so little time for the Cheese. Karnack says if you lost your cheese on a train will the conductor stop the train and let you look for it. Karnack says your cheese is rotting while you look for it. Karnack says has the train stopped for your cheese. Karnack says only the conductor knows for sure. Karnack knows for sure the train goes clickity clack, clickity clack, clickity clack.

  14. Fed Up Taxpayer says:

    Does any other school district in the state have a “general counsel emeritus?”

    This is a colossal waste of money. Hire a qualified attorney and be done with it. This has been going on too long.

  15. He Knows Where the Bodies are Buried says:

    This only makes sense one way. Ed Marko knows where the bodies are buried and to keep his mouth shut he made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Remember this vote and who voted for it.

  16. just me says:

    To Lori Parrish.

    Using Ed Marko’s own words, “The current board cannot commit future boards to anything.” According to Robert’s Rules, only the winning side can bring up an item for reconsideration, leaving Dinnen, Murray or Williams to bring it up. Barteleman can’t since she voted on the losing side.

    Any one of the new board members or Ms. Barteleman can add a new agenda item to delete the position.

  17. Fed Up Taxpayer says:

    Because He Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried he remains on the payroll forever? What a load!

    Keep Marko employed to protect their own position and jobs. Somebody needs to save us from these abuses. I hope it is the new members.

  18. To Just Me And Lori says:

    Can’t the new members forget about what happened in the past and write a new job description from scratch?

  19. Jeanne Jusevic says:

    Karma: DAC has no position on Mr. Marko and emeritius position. That is why I didn’t stand to speak on it.
    I personally am opposed to retaining Mr. Marko after his contract exprires. It is a fariness issue. If there needs to be some sort of transition, then three months would be more than sufficient as there are very competent lawyers working in house for the school board.

    There are far better ways to spend $266,000 dollars. Textbooks come to mind.

    Karnack again you have no real understanding of the role of DAC or my role as chair. All the issues cited are issues DAC does not get involved in.

    Let’s talk about policies. Policies that make it easy for the schools but are not in a student’s best intertests. Let’s talk BTU and how they stack discipline policy committees with teachers that are out of touch with the students they teach, out of touch with parents they alienate on a regular basis. Let’s talk sitting in on parent conferences advocating for children that system has targeted or wants the throw away.

    When you do that, talk to me. Adults can fend for themselves and this system is set up to protect adults far better than it protects students. You worry about the adults. I’ll worry about the parents and the students.

  20. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    I spoke against it as president of the Broward Coalition, which does get involved in government corruption and ethics, issues that affect adults, parents, students, all of us. Every citizen of this county and state has a responsibility to worry about these issues and the people they affect. We will ask the new members to put an item on the agenda to remove this position, which is obviously unnecessary, to say the least.

  21. Stephanie Kraft says:

    To @just me:
    Any person on the prevailing side can bring back an item for reconsideration at the current meeting, but anyone can bring an item back at a subsequent meeting per Marko himself. This has been done at SB meetings in the past. So any of the new members can ask that it be reconsidered.

    I questioned parts of the job description during the Legal Services Committee meeting but since Marko is on that committee, I was in the minority and the job description passed despite my concerns.

  22. JD says:

    Can the School Board members be sued? Here they are raising taxes and throwing our money away. Not sure I really believe the 2 that voted against it as I am sure they new their vote would not matter anyway. How do rid ourselves of these crooks?

  23. Lori Parrish says:

    Not present is considered “prevailing” if at the next meeting. It is a reconsideration. If at a meeting beyond the next meeting it is to rescind.


  24. Stephanie Kraft says:

    Very true, Lori, any new board member can make a motion to rescind. Either way, this can be corrected.

  25. Pineystride says:

    Speaking of attorneys, did anyone see that drew meyers (dawn’s wife) was appointed interim county attorney and looks like he’s a shoo in for th permanent position?

  26. Kevin says:

    These people make the North Korean parliament look like a model of democracy and common sense.

  27. Charlotte Brownfart says:

    The Broward County Skool Board could not organize a piss up in a brewery. They are the laughing stock not just of Florida but of the whole of America. The only people who are more stupid than the board are the electorate who put these morons in office. If you think this is going to change any time soon, fuggedaboutit. As Roger Daltry once sang , “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

  28. CoCo Kreak says:

    The ONLY way to redeem this organization is to remove the Non-Leader, Notter. Either he is in on it or he is so stupid he does not know what is going on. Either way….he needs to go and fast.
    Any corporation with these many problems would have fired the CEO long ago. He is ineffective and counterproductive and he LIES.
    Be Gone, and your little dog too!

  29. Git R Done says:

    @ CoCo Kreak says:
    Notter is NOT a CEO and only works for the Board Members. The staff works for him, so the Board would have to fire him. The CFO is Ben Leong and is quite good, problem is, when he goes before the Board and say’s there is a shortfall, they raise the Millege rate and then your taxes go up, if the Board agrees. It’s not fair because the money is there, the Board members just don’t know or understand a whole lot about the Budget. Each and every School, Department and area has a budget they should stick too, problem is, they don’t. In many cases, they’re told to wok in the RED!!!
    I’ve known that for years.

  30. Goldbricker says:

    Bottom line is, what is Marko has manage to F the process from every which way…he should be so proud of himself.

  31. Hammerhead says:

    Buddy, why don’t you look into why Marko’s current staff are not in the discussion for his replacement. I don’t think they have the skills personally. I think they are somewhat intimidated by the task of trying to clean up Marko’s mess, but that speculation does not answer the question. Most legal careers have a progression plan and it is the one question that seems to be conspicuously ignored. Second comment is, they are making so much that the world cannot go on without securing Marko as emeritus, but from a practical standpoint, what if Marko passed away tomorrow? Is the current board saying that they cannot function without Marko? Even presidents are replaced after elections and death and there is no emeritus hanging around and that is the highest executive (usually law background) in the land. What gives Buddy? Perhaps you can tap into your sources and find out what is being talked about on the inside.

  32. In the know says:

    Originally, Marko told people he was grooming Marilyn Battista to take over his job. When neither she nor Bob Vignola applied, it was obvious to everyone on the inside that he was not planning on leaving. He knew Kraft was going, who was the main one behind getting rid of him, and figured with Kraft gone, he could get the rest of the board to keep him, not as Emeritus, but as the Board Atty. That’s why he sabotaged the negotiations with Stokes. But just in case, he made sure he had the Emeritus position lined up.

  33. Nicholas Steffens says:

    Sign the Petition: