Trails in the Sand by Peter Traciet, the Street Detective
The Street Detective’s digging landed smack in the middle of the school board meeting where rescinding Superintendent Vickie Cartwright’s prior two terminations were being considered. Literally, it would be funny if it were not so ridiculous. Peter Traceit is head scratching over the prevailing excuse being made by the majority of the Board members. They say they didn’t like the process.
Well, it only takes Ol’ Peter, not Sherlock Holmes, to tell you that the Board’s inability to follow process from the onset is what got us all here. Allowing an interim superintendent to apply for a job that she was not able and unqualified to perform was the beginning of this saga.
How soon they forget. They all were very forgiving of Cartwright when she circumvented the process when she presented the organizational chart that buried employees six feet under in the most unorthodox manner in the history of Broward schools.
The Detective is in search for clues in the sand that explains this Board’s action. It’s just unclear if it is their desire to maintain corruption or if they are just beyond inept.
The Detective was not at all surprised that Jeff Holness, the supposed author of BB-2, spoke first and addressed accusations of Cartwright being a racist. He presented some pretty elementary math about the number of Blacks demoted by Cartwright and compared them to the number hired during her tenure. Holness left details in the sand regarding timing and competence. Once called out about the number of Blacks demoted, Cartwright set out to hire Blacks in unprecedented numbers without considering their fitness or level of competence to do the job. Ol’ Peter is being told that it continues to be a recipe for disaster. From what the community is hearing, Holness will be a onetime Board member. Plans are already being formulated to prepare a candidate to end his tenure before it can get underway.
Former Board Chair Torey Alston was next on deck. Traceit sputtered sand from his mouth in excitement as Alston laid out a series of questions that declared the need to negate the request to rescind the Super’s termination. While he did not address race head on, he addressed the timeliness of her engagement with the Black community.
Next, Board members Allan Zeman, Debra Hixon, Sara Leonardi and Nora Rupert joined Holness and dirtied up the air about process.
In the end, BB-3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 were all withdrawn as Super Cartwright was exhumed from six feet under with her termination being overturned.
But the real sandstorm came when the Interim Board Attorney, Marilyn Batista, demonstrated that she hadn’t learned a thing from her past inability to advise the Board on Robert’s Rules. The Detective dug up a substitute motion problem between Batista and Alston.
In an effort to put forth a compromise, Alston devised a substitute motion that would table the BB-2 item and preserve the running clock of 60 days she is guaranteed, if terminated at a later date in January. When asked to define how to address the substitute motion, Batista made the same mistake for a third time, stating that the main motion had to be handled before addressing the substitute motion. In a prior meeting when Alston was Board chair, Batista showed her lack of knowledge with Robert’s Rule regarding substitute motions.
For the record, Robert’s Rule states that “a substitute motion changes how a main motion is handled, and it is voted on before the main motion.”
Ol Peter chickened as Board chair Alhadeff kicked up sand and called a 5-minute recess so that Batista could be privately educated on Robert’s Rules and subsequently come back and adequately advise the Board on parliamentary procedures.
The Street Detective congratulates Super Cartwright on living another day to play in the sand. But, as long as she is doing dirt and soiling up the community, Ol Peter will continue dragging the sand in search for clues.
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