I actually could've written the following post weeks or even months ago, but it's just as apropos here now, so here goes:
I'll give you a dollar if you can show me even one mention -before today- of who the actual candidates were for the position of Broward Schools General Counsel position -to replace Ed Marko- in the Miami Herald, South Florida Sun-Sentinel or any local Miami TV newscast.
Well, that dollar of mine isn't going anywhere, which really shows you how despite a story being right in front of them, the actual coverage of local government and agencies in South Florida has never been worse, especially given the technology that's available to them to make sense of what's going on and keep South Florida well-informed.
And have you seen anything noteworthy yet in the local news media on who was named the new CRA Executive Director for the City of Hollywood?
Yet it was newsworthy last year when the last Beach Executive Director, Gil Martinez was fired because of public perceptions -and the belief among his boss, the Hollywood City Commission- that taxpayer money was being wasted, perhaps thru fraud, and that certain other matters weren't being properly addressed, in part, due to stories in the Miami Herald. (Can you say Brazil?)
But an October 7th Herald story, Audit finds no CRA fraud, reads in part:
The audit, which cost the city $65,500, concluded that the agency failed to have proper controls and oversight of its spending, which was often unauthorized, not budgeted and not subjected to a competitive bidding process.Well, the City of Hollywood hired someone a few weeks ago to be the Executive Director for both the Beach and Downtown CRAs. Who are they, what are their qualifications, and what do they plan on doing to regain the Hollywood community's trust that they will be kept 'in-the-loop' and make prudent decisions?
All good questions.
The answer to the first is Jorge Camejo
The answers to the rest, though available now, have YET to appear in the local newspapers or on Miami TV newscasts.
In fact, Camejo's name has STILL never appeared in the Sun-Sentinel two months after he was hired. Not that the Herald has anything to brag about in that respect.
Just more of the same from the sleepwalking South Florida news media members that basically snooze until something awakens them or the public.
Consider the Herald's coverage the past six months on the Ed Marko replacement and retirement stories, a point I shared via an email with Rick Hirsch of the Herald many months ago.
Months before Hirsch was named the Herald's Managing Editor.
They were completely MIA on that story for months, even while Buddy Nevins of Broward Beat, and to a much-lesser extent, yours truly, was telling people just what was being attempted by the Broward School Board and Supt. James Notter, thru the made-up Emeritus position they were considering creating, a ham-handed attempt to completely emasculate and frustrate the new hire, James D. Stokes.
You remember, that's the position that would have paid Marko a $266,000 annual salary?
Mr. Stokes, the General Counsel-to-be, had the good sense to promptly say non thanks once news about what was really in store for him down here started appearing and the public saw the attempt for what it was: appalling decision-making by people seemingly incapable of ever being right, even when they had the final say.
The ad at the top was published in the Miami Herald on March 1st, 2011
Published in Miami Herald on 2/27/2011
What were they thinking?
The Broward County School Board was poised to approve -- by voice vote, no discussion -- a generous golden parachute for outgoing board general counsel Ed Marko as it was about to hire a new attorney, James Stokes. The board planned to create a one-year ``general counsel emeritus'' job for Mr. Marko, to the tune of more than $266,000 in salary and benefits, so he could look over the shoulder of Mr. Stokes, who was negotiating a salary of between $180,000 to $216,000.
Mr. Stokes, to his credit, pulled the plug on the deal on Monday. And Board Chair Jennifer Gottlieb, wisely, albeit a little late, pulled the item creating the emeritus position until new board members are sworn in. Truth is, this item should be given a deserving burial.
Mr. Stokes, Palm Bay city attorney, objected to having his predecessor hang around for another year. And rightly so. He has 15 years of experience as a government lawyer and, as he pointed out, there's a staff of capable lawyers already serving the board in case he needed some guidance.
Altogether, hiring Mr. Stokes and retaining Mr. Marko would have cost the school district roughly a half-million dollars. This at a time when teachers' pay is flat and the district's budget is hurting?
A 2008 contract between the board and Mr. Marko created the emeritus position for him. Luckily, the proposed $266,000 compensation wasn't part of the contract. So the board might be legally bound to create the job, but it doesn't have to pay him a whopping salary.
Mr. Marko has served as the School Board's attorney since 1968. It's time for him to retire, but the School Board doesn't owe him anything more than his pension and a nice send off.
Meantime, it will have to decide what to do about hiring a new attorney. What an unnecessary brouhaha.
See my previous posts on Ed Marko at:
Buddy Nevins at http://www.browardbeat.com/