While Bob Norman and crew babble on and on about the School Board’s “cronyism” with builders and lobbyists, let me show you cronyism at its worst and most damaging of all.

“Business leaders praise embattled Broward School Board.”

So stated the article headline in last week’s Sun Sentinel.

There’s only one comparison that can possibly make sense, and that’s a bunch of drunks angling up to the bar and praising the bartenders.

Well meaning members of the business community, maybe.

But these “successful business people” in their own right, have done every bit as much to screw up the Broward School district as the absolute staff incompetence which I’ve exposed time and time again.

Yet there they were, the business community and the Broward Workshop at the podium praising the Board and Notter.

“I want to thank you for all you’re doing and to say we’re here to work with you in any shape or form we can,” said Alan Levy, chairman of the Education Committee of the Broward Workshop.

What advice can I give to the School Board members?

Run away from these meddlers as fast as you can and as far as possible.

Their history speaks for itself.

Back once again like the proverbial bad penny, Alan Levy was the undisputed leader of the pack (read: meddler in chief) to keep the incompetent Frank Till as head of the district not too many years ago.

And why shouldn’t these business “leaders” make their stand?

They had the previous Superintendent in their pockets and majority of the Board members cowering in fear for years on end.

Did they really?

Here’s what I was told by a potential supporter when I was running in 2002; “don’t even think of challenging Frank Till, he’s got too many powerful friends.”

I won’t name the individual, but he was a former state legislator and was at the time, a higher up in a local university that bears the same name as a popular PBS science program.

That’s how intent these folks were in keeping Till in place no matter how bad he was.

And that’s how far back I had disdain for Till’s leadership ability.

A little history lesson:

Alan Levy, the “chair” of the Broward Workshop’s Education Committee, was the Ring Master of the three ring circus when it came to intimidating Board Members into not firing or even challenging the incompetent Frank Till.

He just sat and watched while his army of clowns at the Fort Lauderdale Chamber fired questions, epithets and outright threats at both Stephanie Kraft and myself along with anyone else who dared to challenge their incompetent stooge.

One of these arrogant clowns, who insisted that I didn’t know anything about “boardsmanship” went on to do almost fatal damage to ChildNet in 2007 as Chair of that organization.

Reading the linked article, you’ll find that Levy was right there saying he was “impressed” with that board, too.

The rest of the Chamber’s clowns pushed their stooge, Frank Till, to into hiring an unqualified candidate to become Chief Operating Officer for the School District.

One member of Levy’s Chamber “hit squad” was actually stupid enough to admit to it.

The one thing Levy and his gang weren’t prepared for was to face off with somebody they couldn’t either rattle or intimidate.

Levy and his cronies were also at the root of the blatant attempt to squeeze taxpayers out an additional $749 million in property tax dollars with bogus polling data claiming that the community supported such a move.

And there was Levy, front and center in the audience, griping and complaining when I shot down that attempted thievery from the taxpayer.

The day we fired Till, Levy demanded a meeting with me at lunch time.

Rather than have the courtesy to show up, he sent a mutual acquaintance to deliver his message.

“Leave Till alone.”

When we fired Frank Till that night, Levy ran right over to Phyllis Hope and handed her a campaign donation.

He had no stomach for somebody that would stand up to his meddling.

After the election, Levy was quoted in the Miami Herald as intending to form “a group of business leaders who would monitor the votes of elected officials.”

You can’t get more arrogant than that.

There are two questions that nobody else has bothered to ask, and they are: “Why was Levy so intent on keeping an incompetent stooge at the helm of the school district?”

And why was Levy intent on keeping a Superintendent who refused to fire a manager caught in the act of committing a federal crime and in a separate incident later on, caught taking graft?

It’s all in the public record.

And much of the evidence against Till has been published on this blog.

It seems that it isn’t about the children any more.

It’s now about power and connections, and the drunks are lining up for more.

By Levy’s own words on the Broward Workshop website, he and the committee have done more damage to the district than almost anybody else.

“Our Education Committee has been extremely active. We have the superintendent of schools and presidents of the local universities as members. We are involved in the business of education.  The committee has worked with the School Board, studying the 10-year plan, helping find a chief operating officer, looking into funding options for the class-size amendment, teacher recruitment and retention, and school air quality.

Let’s look at the boasts one at a time…

“presidents of the local universities as members.”
(I guess he means the first individual who warned me not to mess with Till.)

“We are involved in the business of education.” 
(Keeping an incompetent at the helm?  Make that monkey business.)

“The Committee has worked with the School Board studying the 10 year plan.”
(Incomplete, unreliable recommendations and overpriced, yet they didn’t find a thing.  It took Board members to uncover the facts.)

“helping find a chief operating officer.”
(Pushing their “buddy” to hire an unqualified candidate? Even more monkey business.)

“looking into funding options for the class size amendment.”
(Coming up with bogus polling data goes way beyond monkey business.)

“school air quality.”
(Spinning wheels uselessly until State Rep. Franklin Sands and the Tools for Schools committee took the appropriate action.)

And now they’re at it again,

Why?  Position and power.

Drunks at the bar.

Maybe at one time their motives were pure.

But their history of meddling has cost the school district (taxpayers) millions of dollars.

The new board needs to cut these folks out of the circuit once and for all by adopting a policy of publishing who they are and where their business interests lie.  The policy needs to bar them from meddling in district policy and operations.

One more policy…

Bar the Superintendent from serving on any one of these “business” boards or committees.

If these folks truly want to help children and schools, let them stick to raising discretionary funds for individual schools, financing supplies for teachers and managing Junior Achievement.