Marko Timeline 1996-2010

Posted on November 27, 2010. Filed under: School Board |

MARKO TIMELINE 1996 – 2010

July 16, 1996:

  • Mr. Marko enters into five-year contract with School Board for the period of October 1, 1996 to September 30, 2001, to become in-house General Counsel.  Prior to that time, he was outside counsel to the School Board through his firm, Marko and Stephany. Mr. Marko has represented the School Board since 1958.

September 11, 2001

April 20, 2004:

  • Mr. Marko’s contract expires September 30, 2005, so School Board approves a two year contract extension, ending on September 30, 2007. See agenda item:
  • Amendment includes an increase of $8,194.68, reflecting a 5% increase, effective April 20, 2004 as the compensation for the General Counsel has not been adjusted since October 1, 2001. Mr. Marko’s new salary is $172,088.28 per year commencing April 20, 2004.
  • Contract amended to include a provision in the Employment Agreement which provides that the General Counsel’s salary be increased by the percentage of salary increase provided to other 12-month administrative employees as of the date The School Board approves the increase applicable to its 12-month administrative employees.

February 24, 2006:

May 4, 2006:

  • Audit Committee reviewed the Audit report.

June 6, 2006:

Some interesting findings:

  • Spent $ 747,325 on in-house legal  services in FY 2004.
  • Spent $ 831,265 on in-house legal  services in FY 2005.
  • Spent $907,309 on in-house legal  services in FY 2006.
  • Spent $1,696,430 million on cadre counsel in FY 2004
  • Spent $1,322,304 million on cadre counsel in FY 2005
  • Spent 1,303,446 million on cadre counsel in FY 2006.
  • Spent a total of $2,443,755 on legal services for FY 2004.
  • Spent a total of $2,153,569 on legal services for FY 2005.
  • Spent a total of $2,210,755 on legal services for FY 2006.

September 18, 2007:

  • School Board was presented with a proposal for a two year contract extension, but Board members wanted more time to complete an evaluation of Mr. Marko prior to doing the contract extension. See pages 17-20 of minutes of meeting:
  • The School Board approved as amended the Fifth Amended Employment Agreement of Edward J. Marko, as General Counsel, extending the term of the agreement only two months, in order to readdress further continuation of the contract. through November 30, 2007.

October 2, 2007:

  • Board approved the Evaluation Instrument and Performance Survey for the Board Attorney.
  • The Board agreed to approve the Evaluation Instrument at this meeting, extend the General Counsel’s contract to the end of January at the next meeting, and hold a workshop to discuss the evaluation and expectations for the Board attorney. See pages 22-25 of minutes:

October 16, 2007:

October 30, 2007:

  • School Board workshop on Review of the General Counsel. Back up for the workshop can be found here:
  • Among other things, the following was requested:
  • When the organizational chart comes up for discussion in the spring of 2008, staff is requested to add a full-time staff person to the General Counsel’s office, whose responsibility will be to review construction and land purchase contracts.
  • To assure a check and balance and more accountability, the General Counsel’s office is requested to add a sign off form to the construction or land purchase contracts and board items stating the documents have been reviewed, there is consistency between the contract and the board item, showing which policy the items references, and that it meets the requirements of the five-year plan.
  • General Counsel is requested to advise the Board when it is thought that a board item is not legally sound.
  • The Board has requested that there be better communication between General Counsel and the Offices of Operations, Facilities and other Executive Leaders.  Board items need to be discussed before they come to the Board so they are consistent, with no discrepancies, between contracts and board items.
  • Board Members requested that General Counsel be more proactive and have a broader view of legal implications regarding issues affecting the school district, such as Ben Gamla Charter School.  To advise the Board of possible legal ramifications, raise a red flag and if needed give the board a summary to keep them better informed.
  • Board Members gave the following requests for the General Counsel office:
  • -Be more-timely responding to the Board Members and staffs’ questions.
  • -Increase in-service presentations.
  • -Summaries about different legal issues at school districts across the country, which may apply to this school district.
  • -Increase attention, evaluation, supervision, and implementing a system of tracking assignments of the Cadre of Attorneys.
  • -Annual reports of legal services should be provided on a timely basis.
  • Board Member would like a cost analysis on how much is spent on the Cadre of Attorneys per year and how much it would cost to hire a full time attorney.  Inform the Board with this information by memo.
  • Staff is requested to supply the Board with last year’s budget including legal services the General Counsel office has paid for.  Also, include the number of cases this office has handled in the last year.
  • There is not a specific policy that outlines the selection of a General Counsel.  The Board Chair suggested, at some point, this needs to be addressed.
  • Board Member requested seeing the evaluations of the Cadre of Attorneys, once completed.
  • Staff is requested to inform Board Members of the current status of the audit of the General Counsel including a review of the attorneys’ fees for workers’ comp and risk management cases.
  • Here was the status as of October 2007:
  • Synopsis of the meeting can be found here:

December 18, 2007:

  • The Legal Services Committee met and recommended extending the term of the agreement through March 31, 2008 to allow the committee to seek input and develop certain language pertaining to the evaluation of the General Counsel and the development of goals and objectives.
  • It is anticipated that the proposed employment agreement would be brought to The School Board at its March 18, 2008 meeting for its consideration.

January 15, 2008:

  • School Board approves the Seventh Amended Employment Agreement, extending term of contract to March 31, 2008, to allow the committee to seek input and develop certain language pertaining to the evaluation of the General Counsel and the development of goals and objectives. It is anticipated that the proposed employment agreement would be brought to The School Board at its March 18, 2008 meeting for its consideration.

February 18, 2008:

March 18, 2008:

  • School Board and General Counsel enter into new Employment Agreement with term of contract from April 1, 2008 to January 1, 2010.
  • The contract provides that Mr. Marko will be evaluated on an annual basis beginning with his initial evaluation which shall be conducted on or before June 2009, and annual evaluations will be conducted in subsequent years on or before June 30th.
  • The contract sets forth specific short and long term expectations of Mr. Marko.
  • The contract also provides that Mr. Marko acknowledges that the School Board will issue a Request for Proposals in June 2009 for the position of General Counsel, with the expectation that a candidate will be selected by June 2009 and that candidate will work with Mr. Marko until the termination of his contract on January 1, 2010.
  • Further, the agreement states that Mr. Marko will be supportive of the Board’s request to transition to a new counsel in September of 2009.
  • Finally, the Agreement states that following the termination his contract in January 2010, Mr. Marko will transition into an emeritus role.

June 18, 2009:

  • Email from Board member Kraft to Superintendent Notter inquiring as to what steps will be taken to follow the board’s directive to issue an RFP for the position of General Counsel.  Paragraph 15 of the Employment Agreement for Mr. Marko, which the Board approved on March 18, 2008, states that the board will issue an RFP for the position of General Counsel in June of 2009.

June 22, 2009

  • Memo from Ed Marko to Board offering his services through December 2011. (See page 1 of attached)

June 23, 2009:

  • Email from Superintendent Notter to Board members advising that he has retained Robert Soloff to write the RFP and provide input on the job description with the intent to also seek SBM input in this process and have the RFP ready for the July 23rd Legal Services Committee meeting.

July 30, 2009:

  • Legal Services Committee met to review proposed RLIs including
  • Option 1-General Counsel, in-house position
  • Option 2-General Counsel-outside attorney, part time position
  • Option 3-General Counsel-outside firm, with specified attorney(s) as General Counsel, part time position and additional firm representation as determined by the School Board.

August 11, 2009:

  • Legal Services Committee met to discuss RFPs for General Counsel. A single RFP providing for either a full time employee or a full time contractor who would remain a member of a law firm but would devote 100% of his or her time to the School Board was presented.

August 18, 2009:

  • Legal Services Committee met to discuss RFPs for General Counsel. One RFP for an in-House General Counsel which would be a full-time employee or full time contractor was proposed.

September 1, 2009

  • Memo from School Board Chair Maureen Dinnen requesting a workshop prior to going forward with the RFP for a new general counsel.  Memo is found on page 2-3 of backup from November 2, 2009 workshop, here:

September 10, 2009

  • Legal Services Committee met to discuss RFP for General Counsel and draft revised Job Description.
  • Legal Services Committee reviewed one RLI which would ask for an In-House Full Time Employee or an outside attorney who would be a specified attorney from a law firm who would devote all of his/her time and efforts on behalf of the School Board as General Counsel. We also discussed proposed Job Description.

October 15, 2009:

  • Memo from Mr. Marko transmitting the final RLI and Job Description as agreed by the Legal Services Committee at our September 10th meeting.

November 2, 2009 workshop:

  • It was requested by the Board Members to have a discussion regarding the General Counsel’s Contract, which will end January 1, 2010. See back up materials:
  • It was discussed that two years ago, the General Counsel’s contract was to expire and at that time and it was extended with the agreement that an RFP would go out to identify someone for the position.
  • The Legal Services Committee has been developing an RFP (now an RLI), which would request applications for the General Counsel position. The RLI is requesting applications from outside firms and internal applicants to be an in house attorney, (employee of the School Board) or an outside attorney or firm, who would not be an employee of the School Board. This would bring in a large applicant pool.
  • The School Board Members had a good discussion regarding the RLI and the contract and agreed that because of the past turbulent year this Board has gone through, the RLI was not pursued as of June 2009.
  • The Board Members decided, because of the approaching date of the contract expiration, that at this time General Counsel’s contract should extended, so to not cause a lapse in the position, and to go forward with the RLI.
  • Board Members decided to extend the General Counsel’s contract for two years. This would allow ample time to receive applications for this position and also allow a transition-training period.
  • It was agreed that the General Counsel will design a Board Item for the Board’s approval to extend the existing contract for two years with the acknowledgement that the RLI will go out to find a new attorney for this position.
  • See synopsis:

November 10, 2009:

  • “First Amendment to Employment Agreement for General Counsel” bringing forth a two-year term which commences on January 2, 2009 and expires on December 31, 2011.  See Agenda item and executed document:
  • The First Amendment to Employment Agreement contains an acknowledgment of The School Board’s desire to develop a succession plan and issue a request for letters of interest (“RLI”).”
  • Motion to Amend term of contract to one year extension passed, with the Employment Agreement ending on December 31, 2010.
  • The new Employment Agreement also states that Mr. Marko acknowledges that the Board will issue a Request for Letters of Interest (RLI) for the position of General Counsel during the term of this First Amendment to Employment Agreement, and that the School Board anticipates selecting a candidate who will work in collaboration with Mr. Marko until the expiration of this First Amendment to the Employment Agreement.
  • The Agreement also states that “Upon the expiration of this Employment Agreement, Marko will transition into an emeritus position” the role, salary duties and responsibilities of which will be developed by the School Board and Marko prior to the end of the Agreement.
  • Minutes from the meeting (pages 70-74) indicate a consensus that the RLI be put out once the extension is granted, and that staff should meet with the Board members to ensure everyone is comfortable with the RLI. See minutes:

February 2, 2010:

  • Agenda Item passes authorizing the release of the Request for Letter of Interest for position of General Counsel.
  • Agenda item references the First Amendment to the General Counsel’s Employment Agreement, which acknowledged that the School Board will issue a RLI for the position of General Counsel and upon the expiration of this agreement Mr. Marko will transition into an emeritus position.
  • The RLI sought either an individual who would be a full time employee of the district, at an annual salary of $180,000 to $216,000, plus benefits, including pension contributions, health insurance, and other benefits as negotiated, or a law firm with a specified attorney providing full time services, with contract payment to the selected respondent law firm will be in the range of $234,000 to $270,000 annually. See RLI here:

February – May 2010:

  • Ads placed in newspapers and through Florida Bar and School Attorney’s Association with a response submittal due date of May 15, 2010.
  • Resumes received from candidates.

April 20, 2010:

  • Agenda item B-1 placed on agenda by Board member Bob Parks, asking to defer the selection process for a new General Counsel until March, 2011 and to approve the Second Amendment to Employment Agreement for General Counsel with Edward J. Marko extending his employment in that position through December 31, 2011. See explanation and background:
  • The item failed 2-8.
  • Revised Job Description for General Counsel approved by Board. The job description for the position of General Counsel was originally developed and adopted in 1996.  The Legal Services Committee recommended that the revised job description be adopted by The School Board to be in concert with the Request for Letter of Interest (RLI) for General Counsel Services, which was approved by The School Board on February 2, 2010.

September 7, 2010:

  • Legal Services Committee meeting to review job description for General Counsel Emeritus and short list candidates for General Counsel.

September 20, 2010:

  • Legal Services Committee meeting to interview short listed candidates.

September 21, 2010:

October 11, 2010:

November 9, 2010:

  • Second reading of policy creating General Counsel Emeritus.
  • Employment Agreement for General Counsel Emeritus (withdrawn)
  • Memo to Withdraw from Superintendent states: This is being requested as a result of the need to have the selected new Attorney’s contract completed and presented to the School Board for approval. The selected new Attorney’s contract is in the negotiations process, which is anticipated to be completed Monday, November 8, 2010. At that time, I will bring forward his and Mr. Marko’s contracts for approval by the School Board. In the event that we do not reach agreement with the new Attorney, the School Board will need to modify Mr. Marko’s existing agreement accordingly.”f

November 29, 21010:

Prepared by Stephanie Arma Kraft, Esq., Former School Board member and Former member Legal Services Committee, November 2009 and updated November 2010.


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