Ethics Panel to Investigate Broward County School Board Policies and Procedures
Oct 28, 2009
The School Board of Broward County announced today, October 28, 2009, that a three-member panel of community leaders has been assembled to begin a 90-day investigation of School Board practices, procedures and policies.
Media coverage of the announcement is reprinted below. To watch a video excerpt from today’s press conference, click here.
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Posted by Brittany Wallman on October 28, 2009 12:55 PM
Sun-Sentinel “Broward Politics” Blog
A three-member panel has been empowered in Fort Lauderdale to scrutinize the Broward County School Board and administration for ethics reform.
Former Attorney General Bob Butterworth (also former head of the Dept. of Children & Families, among other political positions he’s held), Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler (a former Wilton Manors mayor and former state legislator) and attorney W. George Allen, (prominent local attorney who sued in 1969 so his children could attend a white school), will tackle this job.
They said at a news conference this morning that they’ll look at the conduct of lobbyists, of school board members and their family members, and they’ll look into the purchasing and procurement process the school system uses.
Posted by Akilah Johnson on October 28, 2009 09:52 AM
Sun-Sentinel “South Florida Schools” Blog
A mayor, former attorney general and lawyer who sued a segregated Broward School District are now the school system’s “fully independent ‘Commission on Education Excellence through Integrity, Public Ethics and Transparency.'”
On the three-member committee are: Bob Butterworth, former Attorney General; Jack Seiler, mayor of Fort Lauderdale and former State Representative; and W. George Allen, the the Fort Lauderdale lawyer who sued the district in 1969 so his children could attend a white school.
Allen is also a registered lobbyist with the Broward School Board for a company called BenCor, according to district reports. He’s been registered as a lobbyist since 1998.
The three men will immediately begin a 90-day, fact-finding mission scrutinizing the school district’s practices, procedures and policies, according to district officials. The public will have a chance to give their input, though there is no word yet on when those meetings will occur.
The first areas the commission will look at include: purchasing and procurement, ethics and efficient and cost-effective delivery of educational resources and facilities.
Changes in how the district does business will come from commission findings “to meet the highest level of integrity and public confidence,” according to a district statement.
The commission’s birth comes as a federal investigation into corruption in Broward County thrust the district into the spotlight.
On Sept. 23, FBI agents arrested now-suspended School Board member Beverly Gallagher and accused her of steering construction work to undercover agents posing as contractors. Days later, federal investigators subpoenaed thousands of documents related to an audit that revealed overspending, mismanagement as well as the possibility of fraud and collusion in Hurricane Wilma repairs.
And, the revelation that a developer under investigation for allegedly hand-delivering thousands of dollars in cash to now-suspended Broward Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion has a connection with School Board member Stephanie Kraft. Public records show Kraft played a behind-the-scenes role in getting a request for a $500,000 break on school fees for Prestige Homes speedily placed on the board’s agenda.
District officials say the school system will continue cooperating with all federal investigations despite its own fact-finding mission.
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