Tomato, Tomatoe, Misfeasance, Malfeasance

Trails In The Sand by Peter Traceit, the Street Detective

Ol’ Peter has been up the I-95 corridor digging in the sands and  stopping in the Orange County area where the beautifully landscaped properties of Disney are located. When taking in the wonders of Mickey, Minnie, Daffy and Donald, it is difficult to fathom that there might be anything ugly of sorts to be dug up. But, while the Grand Jury Report focused heavily on the Broward school board and its corruption, dirt about Orange County Public Schools was sprinkled here and there on a few pages.

It took 122 pages of dirt to have an impact on Broward’s 9 Board members. Board members are accused of incompetence, misfeasance and malfeasance.

Before moving along, the detective used the help of two old friends, Miriam and Webster, to dig up some context. Just what is misfeasance and malfeasance anyway? According to Webster, these are legal terms usually used in the field of tort law.

Misfeasance is conduct that is lawful but harms another person financially or physically due to carelessness or an accident. In other words, the Grand Jury found that Board members had a duty to act but failed to act in the safety and wellbeing of others. Miriam and Webster explains that malfeasance is a much higher degree than misfeasance. Malfeasance is when a state official violates ethical laws pertaining to their duties in office which is cause for their removal. So, from what the Detective can deduce, the removal of the four Board members was due to malfeasance while in office.

Hummm, the Street Detective is wondering if this applies to City, County and State elected officials as well, I’ll keep checking the trails in the sands.

So, after the publication of the document outlining alleged misfeasance and malfeasance, the  Board Members seemingly wanted to keep their hands clean from dirt, so, on Wednesday, August 24, they tabled two H Board items that would have brought on two new executive level hires: The Executive Director of ESE, Tonia Green, from Orange County and a Chief Facilities Officer, Biswas Harun.

The cloud of sand that Jacqui Luscombe, the district’s ESE Advisory Council Chair kicked up, could not be easily fanned clear. Luscombe had the opportunity to engage with Green and admitted that she seemed like a nice person who has some ESE experience, but Luscombe challenged Superintendent Cartwright on “transparency, accountability, rigor, adherence to policy, best practice and high standards” in her hiring practices for the position. This sounds like a prevailing theme with Superintendent Cartwright’s decisions since she has arrived.

Nathalie Lynch Walsh wasn’t far behind the Luscombe trail in challenging Cartwright’s hiring. Lynch-Walsh wrote a letter specifically addressed to “Board Members not Recommended for Removal by the Grand Jury Report”. Like  Detective Traceit, Lynch Walsh played detective and dug up the language from the policy 4002.13  detailing that a community forum is to be formed to review and help select a candidate. This did not happen with either the ESE Executive Director position or the Chief Facilities position.

Green, the candidate for ESE Executive director, was interviewed along with one other person by Luscombe; however, there were 18 applicants and Luscombe was not able to meet with nor review the qualifications of any of them. In essence, the candidate who Cartwright wanted, a former colleague from Orange County, was set up for success. Green, if hired, would receive a more than $50,000 salary increase. All while the public had to hold their nose from the stench of Referendum for teachers to receive a $5,000 supplement.

Ol’ Peter has dug up some pretty reliable dirt that, when cleaned up, still smells pretty bad for Cartwright and her ways of doing things. Like her Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Marilyn Doyle, who also hails from Orange County, Green is an acquaintance of Cartwright and the process of selecting her was as muddy as Doyle’s. While Green wasn’t looking for $1,800 beach properties prior to being officially hired, it is becoming clear that it was presumed to be a done deal long before the Board meeting.

Green is a current principal in Orange County who is being recommended to jump right over the Director position and into an Executive Director position in a district she is not familiar with. She would be in a department with a recently hired ESE Director who was an assistant principal and jumped right over the principal job right into a District Director’s job. All but one ESE Director is new. Did I mention that she would be compensated  with an almost $60,000 pay increase? Now, that’s dirty.

Lynch-Walsh buried any hopes of the Chief Facilities officer’s approval at the special board meeting. In her letter to the five Board members not recommended for removal, she attacked process and the Super’s refusal to follow policy. The Board agreed and tabled his approval along with Green’s.

But it was all too little, too late. Governor DeSantis removed Patricia Good, Donna Korn, Ann Murray, and Laurie Rich Levinson a day later and replaced them with four men (Torey Alston, Ryan Reuter, Manuel Serrano and Kevin Tynan).

Traceit’s sleuthing re-vealed that Board members were told to take only their personal effects and walked out of the building under supervision in the same fashion as Dead Man Walking to Old Sparky. Most dirty is that each of their pictures, which were a staple on the wall of the Kathleen C. Wright Administration Building for more than a decade, were removed instantaneously and their names disappeared from their garage parking spaces.

Traceit has learned that former School Board Member of District 5, Rosalind Osgood, would have been forced to take that same Dead Man Walking trek down the elevator, past the Boardroom and to the parking garage except for her gaining a Flori-da Senate Seat. Instead of counting it all joy, Traceit has learned that Oz showed up to her old place of employment in the midst of the takedown of her former colleagues. She has since given interviews to local newspapers (not the Westside Gazette) and news stations in defense of her former colleagues.

While digging through in-terviews, Traceit ran across an interview with Oz and Channel 7 news on Sunday morning. Oz defended herself and her colleagues by sharing her record on teaching and learning. The reporter quickly redirected her to what is in the Grand Jury report which had more to do with safety concerns and construction debacles. Traceit has learned from digging that student achievement has never been the bone of contention on any Grand Jury report. It has been issues of construction of which Oz gave no data to report regarding schools in District 5.

Interestingly, when the reporter pushed Oz on making a statement in defense of her former colleagues on Sunday, her position had slightly changed from when she reported to the School Board building on the day of their removal. Oz had sand in her mouth as she sputtered that she could not com-ment because her former colleagues may appeal their removals and their cases would be heard by the Florida Senate, of which she is a member.

Ol Traceit was born at night, but not last night. Wouldn’t Oz have to recuse herself from hearing any ap-peals since she is named on the Grand Jury Report and would have been removed but for her leaving for the Senate Seat? Oz, please get your head out from being buried in the sand.

Further, Peter is hearing that indictments may be coming, and if indicted, Oz could be in knee-deep quicksand. Clues written in the sand tell Traceit that Oz could possibly not be sworn into her recently won Senate Seat or if indicted, she could be removed?

Street Detective Traceit will continue dragging through the sand looking for and reporting clues.

About Carma Henry 20476 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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