What will the School Board do tomorrow about Marko?

Posted on December 6, 2010. Filed under: School Board |

Interesting issues at tomorrow’s School Board meeting.

Marko sent a one-line memo, stating that he no longer intends to seek an extension of his contract. Obviously, he counted heads at the workshop last week and realized that he did not have the votes for an extension, so he’d rather go out on his own than face a rejection by the Board.

But, interestingly enough, the item asking for the extension is still on the agenda. Since it was an item brought by Board Chair Ben Williams, obviously at Marko’s request, will Ben withdraw the item before the meeting?  Or will it be left on so the Board members can then discuss where do they go from here?

But where does this leave the Board? A board member should have immediately put an item on the agenda to appoint an Interim General Counsel. There are no other board meetings between now and January. Will a board member (Maureen or Ben?) use this to suggest a one month extension until the Board can appoint an interim? Will the Board hold an emergency meeting to do this prior to December 31st? The Board is on break after December 17th, and meetings require advance notice.

And what is the status of the Emeritus? Marko’s current contract states that he will transition into an Emeritus role after the Board hires a new General Counsel. The language of that contract, however, contains some time frames that were not met. Specifically, that contract stated,

MARKO acknowledges that THE SCHOOL BOARD will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in June 2009 for the position of General Counsel and that THE SCHOOL BOARD anticipates selecting a candidate for this position in September 2009. The selected candidate will work in collaboration with MARKO until the expiration of this Employment Agreement on January 1, 2010.

Upon the expiration of this Employment Agreement, MARKO will transition into an Emeritus position. The role, salaries, duties and responsibilities of this position will be further developed by THE SCHOOL BOARD and MARKO.

Obviously, those time lines were not adhered to. That contract was amended in November 2009, and while the agenda item stated that “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,” the actual Amendment to the Employment Agreement simply extended the term of his contract through December 31, 2010.

The question thus remains, if the Board did not adhere to the timelines in the original contract, is the Board still bound to transition Marko into an Emeritus position? And if so, are they bound to the job description that the former Board rushed through one week before the new Board was sworn in?

Another item on the agenda is to rescind the job description for the Emeritus. This has to be done for two reasons. First, if the Board is not bound to hire Marko as Emeritus, the position is not needed, and should be rescinded. If the Board is still bound to have an Emeritus, the new Board must be able to determine the role, responsibility and duties of this position themselves.

Perhaps the Board should hire an independent labor attorney from outside this county to evaluate Marko’s contract and provide an opinion as to whether the Board is contractually bound to hire him as Emeritus. If so, the Board could then opt to make the Emeritus a consultant position, to be used on an as-needed basis, and to pay this position the same hourly fee that the Board pays all of its other cadre counsel (I think they pay $145 an hour).

Either way, this will be an interesting meeting.  The item to approve the contract extension (B-2) is set for a time certain of 11:00 am. The item to rescind the job description (B-1) does not have a time certain, and the item to approve the new RLI (I-4) to start the job search over again has a time certain of 11:30.

Be sure to tune in to the meeting tomorrow! It can be heard on the radio, 88.5 FM, or live streamed on www.browardschools.com.

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