Stephanie Kraft Has A Lot To Say About Marko


Former School Board member Stephanie Kraft can’t give up.

She told the Sun-Sentinel’s Mike Mayo this week that she will not keep her hands off her computer  just because she is awaiting trial for corruption.

Kraft has opinions.  She is very willing to let her fingers do the talking, especially concerning School Board General Counsel Ed Marko.

She has been trying to get the Board to dump Marko for years.

Kraft sent a long e-mail to the new Board this week outlining her problems with Marko.

That’s her privilege.  She has the same right to air her views on Marko as I do.

But is it a politically wise move?


Like it or not, Kraft’s opinion is tainted.  She is charged with a crime.  Several crimes.

Her e-mail will make it hard for at least one new School Board member to vote against Marko.  That member is Dave Thomas.

Kraft (unwisely) told Mayo that she backed Thomas’ election.  His first big vote will be on Marko’s future.

If Thomas votes to dump Marko, it will look a brave decision to me and many. 

To some  it will look like he is doing Kraft’s bidding. Because of the e-mail.

Bad move, Stephanie.

It is unfortunate, because Kraft’s e-mail is well thought out.  It is full of useful information that the staff would never provide.

The e-mail was just written by the wrong author.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.  True.

Not in politics, where perception is everything.  And not on the slavering Internet blogs that have already convicted Kraft.

I’m for Marko’s dismissal, too.  He has been there too long.  The School Board does not need two general counsels, which is what they would have if Marko is given a long contract as “general counsel emeritus.

But Kraft is doing her cause no favors by coming out so publicly for Marko’s dismissal. 

In fact, I believe she could be hurting the cause.

Here is Stephanie Kraft’s e-mail:

Dear Board members:
In advance of your workshop next Monday, November 29, 2010, I have taken the liberty of sending you a timeline that I created and which was distributed at the November 2, 2009, workshop, updated to reflect the events of this past year.  I have cross-referenced it with links to items that can be found in the eAgenda, for ease in providing you the actual source material.
I note that Mr. Marko is offering his continued services as General Counsel through December 2011, which would allow time for the Board to commence another search for a new General Counsel, which he anticipates will take another nine months.
If the Board is inclined to accept Mr. Marko’s offer, I have a few suggestions, and would like to point out a few facts.
1.     Mr. Marko’s current contract
a)     Evaluation and Goals
Mr. Marko’s current contract, as written and accepted in March 2008, specifies, in paragraphs 6.1 – 6.3 on page 7, that the Board and Mr. Marko will develop an evaluation instrument; that there will be annual establishment of goals, and there shall be an annual evaluation every June.
While the Board and Mr. Marko did create an Evaluation and Performance Survey in October of 2007, I don’t believe we ever created a new evaluation instrument as contemplated in the March 2008 contract, nor do I recall conducting an evaluation of Mr. Marko since that time.  In fact, in the synopsis of the workshop on November 2, 2009, it was noted that “Board Members have not done an evaluation on the General Counsel since 2006 and request that one be done.
When this issue came up for discussion last year, I reminded the Board of this, and it was decided, since Mr. Marko’s contract was up at the end of this year, that there was no need to do this, but the Board also indicated that should Mr. Marko’s contract be extended once again, an evaluation would be completed.  The Board may also want to revisit the issue of the Establishment of Goals, as was required in the 2008 contract. In fact, the minutes of the November 10, 2010 meeting, pages 70-74, state that the Legal Services Committee was to re-address these provisions in the contract, but we never did so.
b)    Annual Report
Mr. Marko’s contract also provides that there will be an annual report, provided to the Board by July 31 of each year.  I don’t recall if we received the annual report each year since the 2008 contract, or, if we did, whether it was timely. Someone may want to check this.
c)     Expectations
The 2008 contract includes some very specific short and long-term expectations, that Board members may want to review.  These were the results of extensive review and discussion with our consultant, Bill Mathis (see February 18, 2008, memo, attached).
I would urge the Board members, especially those who have worked with Mr. Marko since 2008, to review the short and long term expectations to assess whether you are satisfied that progress has been made in attaining these goals. 
d)    Emeritus Position
Finally, with respect to Mr. Marko’s current contract, his 2008 contract, paragraph 15 of the Employment Agreement states that Mr. Marko acknowledges that the School Board will issue a Request for Proposals for the position of General Counsel in June 2009, and the Board anticipates selecting a candidate for this position in September of 2009. Mr. Marko will then transition into an Emeritus position, the role, salary, duties and responsibilities to be further developed by the School Board and Mr. Marko.

 If it is the will of the Board that there be an Emeritus position, but the current Board is unhappy with the job description, role, salary or duties as adopted by the former board last month, the Board can bring back that item to rescind it and start over again.

If it is the will of the Board that there not be an Emeritus position, the time to re-negotiate this is now, if you are going to extend his contract.
e) Support for hiring new Counsel
Paragraph 16.3 (e) of the Employment Agreement states that Mr. Marko will be “supportive of the School Board’s request for General Counsel transition to a new Counsel. . .”

The Board indicated a desire to go out for a new General Counsel in 2008.  In June of 2009, when the Board was about to begin the process of drafting an RLI, Mr. Marko sent a memo requesting to be kept on as General Counsel through December 2011.  In November of 2009, Mr. Marko also indicated he wished to remain until December 2011.  Mr. Marko is again asking for this to be his exit date.  Based on the comments of Mr. Stokes in his letter to Board members, attached, one has to wonder how supportive Mr. Marko has been to this process.  This should be reiterated in any contract extension.
2.     New search:
a)     RLI
The RLI was written by cadre counsel Robert Soloff during the summer of 2009.  The Legal Services Committee, then comprised of Jennifer Gottlieb, Bob Parks and myself, along with Mr. Notter and Mr. Marko, reviewed and fine-tuned the RLI.  I would suggest, inasmuch as we had cadre counsel as well as Mr. Marko providing input into writing the RLI, you not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  If the Board wants to revisit the RLI, that would certainly be appropriate, but realize that this was a four month process, with the assistance of outside counsel as well as Mr. Marko. I would implore you not to take another four months to develop a new RLI.
b)    Timeline for search:
I would respectfully submit that nine months is way too long. If the Board wants to tweak the RLI, that can be done fairly quickly.  We are now pretty much exactly where we were one year ago. Last year, the Board said we wanted the RLI to go out after the holidays; it did not go out until February.  The RLI should be ready to go out right after the holidays when you return in January. While it takes one month to publish it in the Bar publications and FSBA or NSBA publications, there should be a much shorter turn-around time.  Having the ad go out in February of last year, with the due date of May 15, and then not even short list or interview until September is unrealistic for candidates.  Someone who sees an ad in February is not going to necessarily be waiting around to be hired almost nine months later.
I recently received an email from the Florida Bar, advising of a search that Lee County is doing for a County Attorney.  Apparently, they did not receive enough qualified candidates, since they were re-opening their process, but their original timeline is of note (see attached).  They calendared one month to develop the job profile and receive approval from the commission to advertise; the ad went out on September 21 and closed on October 5; they allowed one week for the screening and selection process, and had completed the initial interviews by October 22 and the final interviews by October 28th.  While this is an aggressive time frame, it does show that five weeks instead of five months can be done! In our case, our ad closed May 15, and we did not even short list until September. That is way too long a time.
3.     Legal Services Committee
To conclude, I would like to make some comments about the Legal Services Committee.  I found a draft of a set of By-Laws for the Legal Services Committee (attached), but do not recall if we ever adopted these.  The Board may want to review, tweak and adopt these by-laws.  I don’t believe we ever elected a Chair of that committee.  I might also suggest that the General Counsel should be a non-voting member of the Committee. Since the Legal Services Committee meets, on occasion, to recommend contract extensions, terms, and salaries or raises, it seems inappropriate to have the General Counsel voting on items that inure to his benefit.  Certainly, Board members are made to abstain from voting on an item that inures directly to their financial benefit, yet, the General Counsel has voted as part of the Legal Services Committee, on his contract extensions and raises.
Final thoughts
One final recommendation: If the Board is serious about hiring a new General Counsel, it may behoove you to let Mr. Marko’s contract expire on December 31, 2010 and appoint one of the Deputy Counsel as Interim. I fear, given what I had heard in the community, that as long as Mr. Marko remains in his current position, you will not receive serious candidates, as the word on the street is that Mr. Marko is not leaving, and this is not a real position. In addition, if the Board is concerned about the budgetary value of having a full time General Counsel and a full time Emeritus counsel, the Emeritus role could certainly be one of a consultant, as needed, as opposed to full time.  I think the Board should take the comments of our only applicant, Jim Stokes, to heart. (see attached). He raises some very good points.

Thank you for reviewing my thoughts on this important issue and good luck with this challenging situation.

Stephanie Kraft

15 Responses to “Stephanie Kraft Has A Lot To Say About Marko”

  1. Stephanie Kraft says:

    If the Board chooses to keep Marko and not continue the search, or keep Marko while continuing the search, or keep Marko as Emeritus and get a new counsel, to prove that they are independent of opinions such as mine, then they deserve what they get.

    I know many people have the same opinion I do, but not many people have the inside information regarding his history or the status of his contracts. It would be a shame indeed if the Board chooses to do the wrong thing just because they don’t like the messenger, assuming that is true.

    It is also a shame that in a country where one is innocent until proven guilty, and people have freedom of speech and the right to their opinions as well as the right to air their opinions, the haters on the blogs will crucify me for daring to express my opinion. Oh well, c’est la vie, that’s their right to do as well. God Bless America! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

  2. Just Go Away says:

    Like Buddy I find many of Mrs. Kraft’s allegations about Mr. Marko to be valid. Unfortunately her ego won’t let her see that anything she has to offer is tainted. Her actions while on the board, along with those of her husband, have led to her arrest. Sure she is innocent until proven guilty but there is no doubt her actions were unethical if not criminal. She needs to understand that she and Mitch have worn out their welcome and should do us all a favor – Just Go Away

  3. S only says:

    I disagree with you Mr. Nevins. No one else is seriously contesting Mr, Marko’s continuation with the school system, mainly because they are afraid to. At least Stephanie is not afraid, probably because she has nothing to lose. Mr. Marko is costing too much money. He has little effect on the STUDENTS, which is where the focus of ALL Broward County School System employees should be. It should be about the kids and the schools.

  4. Marko Must Go says:

    Forget the e-mail is from Kraft. It is a wonderful outline of why Ed Marko should be dismissed immediately. Her authorship should have nothing to do with it. Maybe she should send these anonymously in the future.

  5. Chaz Stevens, Author says:

    Send ’em now. In jail, she won’t have access to a computer.

  6. Stone Cold's Bottom Line says:

    Mr. Marko should just agree to retire and leave when a new selection proceess occurs and a new attorney is selected. Jesus, Marko, can’t you see the consternation and aggravation you are causing. Just agree to leave, Damned!

  7. Hammerhead says:

    I find my self in a strange and unfamiliar position…I agree with Stephanie on this issue. If there is to be credibility in the Chaits’ story regarding Stephanie and Mitch’s indiscrections, then it stands to reason that Stephanie’s information regarding Marko should be given equal consideration for the same reasons. The idea here is that, even those who violate the law are capable of providing facts to assist in righting wrongs. I hope to some degree, for that to be her motivation.

    I followed the logic in her well thought out argument and agree with the overall conclusion. But there is one thing that she is not sharing, probably for legal reasons, and that is regarding her true motivation for wanting Marko out. Sure, he needs to go because he has over-stayed his welcome, but something more profound motivates her on the Marko subject. I believe she is intimately aware of Marko’s role in the current county culture.

    I personally believe that Stephanie knows exactly what Marko has been doing for a very long time and how it has been incongruent with his true responsibilities of providing legal advice and representation for the school board. In fact, after 12 years, she knows where the “bones are buried” and that is probably why “sitting” board members do not wish to speak out. They all know where “some” of the bones are buried, but Marko knows where they are “all” buried.

    In this corrupt county there will be many questionable witnesses who will share valid and factual information which will assist in unraveling the corrupt, toxic and wasteful culture. Being part of it will not dismiss all testimony and that is the key in weighing the information that Stephanie shared. It will be interesting to eventually find out what she really knows and what her real motivation is for lobbying to remove Marko. It is a just endeavor, but what really motivates her? I have a feeling that we will be finding out soon enough. All the same, I applaud Stephanie for her opinion and trying to pass on some knowledge to the new board members who will surely be lobbied hard by the five remaining members and high level staff who have a dog in the fight to maintain the status quo. Good for Stephanie on this one.

  8. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Ok so Mrs.Kraft is not going down w/out a fight. You were indicted lady,arrested. So you can send emails,attend meetings etc. Bottom line you are out on bond. And yes you are innocent until proven guilty. Fine -just remember ignorance of the law is no reason or just cause to have broken the law. Mrs. Kraft will get her day in court and we will see. Does she get an A for brass of course,but when push comes to shove your going on trial not Att. Marko. And in regard to Mr. Marko maybe he doesn’t want to retire. Go into Private Practice I’ll keep you busy-trust me….

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hammerhead is on target. Let her write.

  10. Woo Woo says:

    Hammerhead is right. She has a lot of knowledge and she should be criticized for sharing. Make Kraft a guest columnist because she makes more sense than that idiot Fields.

  11. Stephanie Kraft says:

    For all those who want to see some more of my thoughts on the Marko situation, please visit my blog,

    If you are one of the people who don’t want to hear from me, please don’t visit.

    I have posted some more information on Marko’s failure to comply with his contract terms, as well as the annotated timeline I sent to the Board.

  12. Lyn says:

    Hammerhead & Woo Woo, I agree with you. Let Ms. Kraft speak her mind. That is her right as a citizen and something she never retreated from as a School Board member. If Mr. Marko is found to have been a part of the ongoing corruption, then he should be held accountable by the Board.

    Ms. Kraft was one of the only Board members to question Mr. Notter and his staff on the way the School Board layoffs were (mis)handled back in June, and ask for more time to investigate. That request was denied. Ms. Kraft, I will not soon forget that you had the courage to speak up for those of us who wrongly lost our jobs when departments kept those with less seniority and worse performance because they had connections.

    I pray for those former school board employees who, like me, are still unemployed during this holiday season. Happy holidays and a bright future to all.

  13. So Nixionian says:

    Kudo’s to Ms. Kraft, innocent or not,this is a very subtle way of trying to influence the potential jury pool for her pending criminal proceeding… just look at the preceeding comment

    Happy Holidays to all

  14. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    To Happy Holiday- no way to your comment Kraft is trying to influence the potential Jury pool. If she was smart she would make it damn clear to her Att. seat no one that is poltically involved. Get people that do not have a clue to City/County Poltics. is her best bet. If you think a potential jury who is familar w/ this blog or others to think she would have a chance is like saying we are going to get a foot of snow. Mrs. Kraft got caught becaus ethe Chaits flipped on her, plain and simple. Her defense is going to be I had no idea of the potential conflict of interest . I am my own person I had no idea what Mr. Kraft was up to.My hubbie askes me to put a certain item on the Agenda when it came up I recused myself, end of story. You better pray the Jury falls for that. Quite possible w/ the Att. you have. One suggestion Mrs. Kraft get the trial switche dto Dade. All this aside I really do not think she can get a fair shake in Broward. Don’t get me wrong I think this whole situation she has herself in stinks, would I find her guilty, w/ the media reports and from what I know from hearing from other Officals I would have to find her guilty– (see what I mean)…

  15. Git R Done says:

    Buddy, you’re right on with this one, for sure!