(Revised) Proposed new Contract Extension for Marko Eliminates Emeritus Role!

Posted on December 1, 2010. Filed under: School Board |

Ben Williams, Chair of the Broward County School Board, put the proposed new Contract Extension item on the Board agenda for December 7, 2010 (Agenda Item B-2).  (Board agenda can be accessed at http://eagenda3.broward.k12.fl.us/cgi-bin/WebObjects/eAgenda.woa/wa/showMeeting).  I assume this was in conjunction with discussions and negotiations with Marko.

It contains some surprises. First, instead of a year extension, the contract extension is only for three months, through March 31, 2011.

Second, it eliminates paragraph 15 from the March 2008 contract and the amendment to that paragraph in the First Amended Contract.  Paragraph 15 was the paragraph that provided that Marko would transition into an Emeritus position and would work in collaboration with the new counsel.

Marko apparently saw the handwriting on the wall that was pretty clear that there was at least six votes not to extend his contract for a year and continue him as Emeritus.

The interesting thing is, what will the Board do now? Will they extend him three months, and go out for a new RLI immediately? Or will they be suspicious that if they extend him for three months, he will ask for another extension after that period? That has been his MO the last three years.  Of course, if they do approve this three month extension, that does get them out of their contractual obligation to have him transition into the Emeritus position, so this is an interesting dilemma.

Also on the agenda, a  request by Board Member Dave Thomas to rescind the Job Description for the Emeritus position (Agenda Item B-1).  Dave accurately points out that when the board item was approved, a week before the “new board” took office, the new board  did not have a chance to weigh in on the terms and responsibilities of that position.  Now, of course, if Marko is proposing eliminating the Emeritus position if the Board agrees to a three month extension, it makes even more sense to rescind the position, since it would not be needed.  Either way, this item should be approved by the Board. If the Board chooses to have an Emeritus position, they need to re-evaluate the terms, duties and responsibilities of this position. If they choose not to have this position, then this Job Description should be eliminated.

Finally, the RLI for the new General Counsel  is also on the agenda (Agenda item I-4). The RLI contains some suggested changes, and includes some critical questions the board must answer at their meeting.  This is an excellent opportunity for the Board to ascertain what they are looking for in a General Counsel.  Kudos to the Board for putting this on the agenda at their next meeting and holding their discussion on the make up of the RLI in a timely manner.  The timelines provided are also much more reasonable, and have the new counsel being approved by the Board by April 19, 2011.  Of course, that begs the question, if Mr. Marko’s contract is only extended until March 31, will the Board be without a General Counsel for three weeks? Why would they have suggested an extension to March 31, if the new General Counsel is not proposed to be appointed until April 19? Is this another ploy to keep Marko? Or simply an oversight in coordinating the dates? I suspect that this was set up to have a board member amend the item to extend Marko until April 30, 2011, if they are inclined to do the amendment.

By tying the amendment in to the elimination of the Emeritus position, Marko appears to have the Board where he wants them.  He wants an extension, and the Board does not want to be tied into the March 2008 contract guaranteeing him the Emeritus position.  Interesting posturing by Marko. It should be an interesting meeting next week!

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