Whistleblower's Open Letter to Education Commissioner
Schools inspector Michael Marchetti has been exposing corruption at the Broward County School Board for more than a decade, risking his job in the construction department at every turn. Most recently, he filed a lawsuit against the board, numerous individuals, and six school-building firms looking to recover millions in taxpayers' money they have wasted.
Now Marchetti has written an open letter to Florida Department of Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith demanding more investigation. Read it inside.---------------------------------------------------
I am a long time whistleblower within the District; in fact, I am the School Board employee along with my wife who was threatened with their jobs and criminal prosecution by a political operative identified in the Grand Jury Report. This fact has been well established in news accounts of the actual extortion attempt as it unfolded. My alleged crime was to be mistakenly identified as an individual critical of the School Board. I was hoping that the latest Grand Jury Report would have finally exposed the Board, Mr. Notter, and his senior managers as corrupt to the point that they would realize that they could no longer lead this organization, and they would resign. In fact the language and tone of the report is clear and validates issues that hundreds of honest employees have brought forward for years to an administration now exposed as organized to eliminate and or marginalize such attempts.
As of this writing morale is at its lowest point and the entire organization is nearly paralyzed as rumors of layoffs and cutbacks are circulated again by those most responsible for our financial condition. Those same leaders who last year used the financial situation to eliminate many of those who had the audacity to speak out about the waste and mismanagement, while not one of the senior managers most responsible for that waste and mismanagement were held accountable. As further proof of this incredible arrogance as recently as last month Mr. Notter was prepared to promote others who had played key roles in this financial boondoggle. Now the Board and Mr. Notter are telling us that they are the ones who are to provide a plan to move forward.
I don't want to over-dramatize this situation but with worldwide current events as they are you must see the irony in their plan. It is apparent that the Board would have us believe that those leaders identified in the report and accused of malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance are the most qualified to lead us forward and out of the repressive culture of corruption they themselves established. It is beyond ludicrous and only serves to reaffirm how out of touch with reality these so called leaders are. Mr. Notter claims to be a "data nut" and a proponent of the Sterling management concepts. The precursor to any "Sterling" attempt to implement a new plan is to first involve all stakeholders. Yet as of this writing Mr. Notter is held up with his senior managers alone crafting a response to the Grand Jury Report, the Florida Department of Education, and a new plan to move forward. Conspicuously absent from these planning strategies are those rank and file members who risked their careers to expose the activities of these very people.
Based on last year's purge of those who spoke up it doesn't take much imagination to envision what we can expect from Mr. Notter and his new plans. The simple fact is Mr. Notter cannot face us because he has gone too far to ever regain credibility and he knows it. The simple fact is this Board and Mr. Notter have lost institutional control or they would include us. As stated by you by law your agency's Office of Inspector General is required to investigate if the School Board is "unwilling or unable to address substantiated allegations made by any person relating to waste, fraud, or financial mismanagement within the school district." The Grand Jury Report clearly established the grounds for such an investigation and the Board's and Mr. Notter's inability to include all stakeholders in any improvement strategy gives us no hope going forward. I am asking that you send the Inspector General to investigate this Board, Mr. Notter, and his senior managers. The children, taxpayers, and those employees committed to real improvement for this District need your help now.
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