The idea on October 17, 2006 was not only to get rid of a corrupt and incompetent Superintendent, but to cut him loose before he could petition a new School Board to reverse his firing.
Stop him from doing even more damage to the district.
The intent, of course, was to hire a new administrator that would clean up the district.
It didn’t happen.
Did I use the word corrupt?
Yup, I sure did.
How else would you describe a “Superintendent” who consistently refused to fire a subordinate caught in the act of committing a federal crime? Rigging bids.
Or taking graft in the form of free “vendor paid” junkets while handing out no-bid contracts?
One, a federal crime, the other a state crime yet Till protected this guy to no end.
You have to admit that the errant Chief Information Officer had a set of brass balls seeing that his graft ridden junkets were so open that he was writing articles and giving speeches for IBM, even taking a free family vacation to Disney World.
Even the ultimately fired Frank Till had to write him e-mails to stop. Goodness knows Till wouldn’t fire the guy.
I have to wonder what he had on Till…
This, of course, just a small sample of the shenanigans inside the district. Shenanigans that didn’t stop with Till’s firing.
The good news is that both Till and his corrupt subordinate were dumb enough to leave a paper trail.
You can find copies of those e-mails here.
Notter ultimately fired the guy, but not until he himself was caught up in the culprit’s free junket scandal.
But Notter knew that taking vendor paid junkets was not only wrong, but against policy and ultimately illegal in the light of no-bid contacts. Yet he did nothing about it until he was exposed taking a free trip to the headquarters of CELT in Marlborough Massachusetts.
All of it was exposed by a Sun Sentinel article in June, 2007.
CELT was a technology vendor given no-bid contracts by Frank Till.
One of CELT’s directors is none other than former School Board member Abe Fischler.
So exactly why did it take Notter getting caught with his hand in the Till (sorry, I couldn’t resist)before he fired the guy?
To refresh memories, it was 2 1/2 years after I exposed the CIO’s bid rigging and a full year after he was exposed as taking the junkets and vacation before Notter decided to fire him.
Meanwhile, Facilities Deputy Mike Garretson was busy doing his best to pay off architects on cancelled projects, pay off contractors like AshBritt and even more damage by not getting projects done.
Ed Marko approves a contract for the West Broward High School property that included a $56,760 yearly payment (forever) to the association for the privilege of parents driving by the common area. Despite the real estate agent’s objections.
Tom Coates kicks the purchase into high gear right away. (This operation, by the way, is how Weston got screwed out of Cypress Bay’s relief school.)
Lest anybody forget, it was the team of Coates and Garretson who brought the district the wonderful swamp land deal.
Still working their magic under Notter’s administration.
And of course there’s the renovation of Ft. Lauderdale High School started at the beginning of Till’s administration, still not complete even today, yet more than ten million over budget.
When I left the dais for the last time, my advice to Notter was to get rid of Till’s senior staff.
The bad news is that he didn’t.
It might be good news that retirement is taking them one by one, but it’s not enough.
As evidenced by the shenanigans at transportation, two top managers finally fired after a year and a half investigation, replaced by a subordinate who hasn’t got a clue as to priorities.
Would Notter have even bothered to fire these two without my constant published reminders?
District management needs nothing less than an enema. Clean house from top to bottom.
It hasn’t happened yet.
If, as Notter says, he is leaving the district “in the best shape anyone could,” that’s not an accomplishment. It’s an indictment.
“A” rated district, my ass…
When 80% of Broward high school students need remediation in Math and English before getting any college credit at a community college, something’s terribly wrong.
And “Educator” James Notter didn’t fix it.
Neither did “Educator” Dr. Frank Till.
Maybe it’s time for something completely different.