Broward School Board member Ann Murray claims she is trying to tighten the district's purse strings by laying off building inspectors.
Building inspector Michael Marchetti -- a whistleblower who exposed massive corruption by Murray's board -- told Murray during a meeting last week that she's on a "personal vendetta" to fire him.
Murray didn't answer Marchetti's charge, but I'm sure he's right.
A recent School Board reorganization proposed terminating four of the 20 School Board building inspectors. Because of Marchetti's seniority in the district, he was not of the four inspectors who would lose their jobs. Shortly after that became apparent, Murray sent an email to School Board support operations director Jeffrey Moquin in which she specifically questioned "the need for 16 [building inspectors] when building in the District is at a minimum."
Marchetti said he was made aware of Murray's headhunting communique that very day. The following day, at a School Board workshop, Marchetti addressed the board -- and aimed his remarks at Murray personally, accusing her of targeting him for termination because he has been a leading board critic.
He also said that Murray's campaign manager had in the past made threats to have him fired and arrested.
"It's obvious to me that once it was determined that losing four inspectors was not going to affect my job, she quickly sent a note to
say there needed to be more cuts," Marchetti told me. "Right now, we're not doing thousands of state-mandated maintenance inspections as it is, and [School Board Building Chief Tom] Lindner has said publicly we are doing $385 million worth of construction. So what else could it be?"
Interestingly Bograkos -- who also serves as Murray's campaign manager and all-around right-hand man -- figures into the drama that is playing out between his boss and Marchetti.
Remember that Marchetti was erroneously accused of being the Facebook-based School Board critic known as Broward Cleansweep last year. An unnamed board-connected political consultant believed that Cleansweep was Marchetti and, using the name "Broward Conscience," basically threatened to have him fired and arrested if he didn't shut down his Facebook account immediately.
It was an ugly incident that was described in the scathing grand jury report on corruption at the School Board as an "extortionate attempt" to stifle free speech. The unnamed consultant also happened to be dead wrong -- Marchetti wasn't Cleansweep.
But Marchetti says he knows who the extortion artist was.
"I know from reliable sources close to the grand jury investigation that it was George Bograkos," Marchetti told me.
I asked Bograkos several weeks ago if he was "Broward Conscience." He was all over the map and ultimately admitted that authorities had interviewed him about the matter and that he "didn't deny it to anyone with credentials."
It's clear that Bograkos was involved in targeting Marchetti -- and now his boss is doing the same. On top of this, Marchetti most recently has been criticizing a $6 million administration building project that he says is unnecessary. The contractor on the job: Royal Concrete Concepts, a company that helped bankroll Murray's political campaign
You would think with the "Broward Conscience" cloud hanging over her political camp, Murray would avoid the appearance of revenge and not specifically target building inspectors for termination -- especially since there are other much more significant areas of School Board waste that could be slashed, including bloated top administrative salaries.
But Murray has been obstinate ever since the grand jury report was released. She criticized the report on the television news before admitting that she hadn't actually read it. Then Murray announced that she'd determined that the real corruption wasn't with the board but district staff. She arrived at this conclusion despite the fact that the grand jury, after a lengthy investigation, found the exact opposite to be true. It pinpointed the board as corrupt and inept while crediting staff members with having exposed their misdeeds.
Murray seems only to again be proving the grand jury true.
-- Just so you understand the quality of intellect we're dealing with in Murray, read the following email she wrote in 2009.
Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 9:32 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: Broward School Board Digs Itself Deeper Hole
Thanks Pete, but unfortunately once your on the Board you inherit everything, past and present. the good and the bad...
The issue with Mr. Notter,,, he also inherited alot of mismanagement of finances from Dr. Till who was the sitting superintendent when all this spending was happening. Since Notter became superintendent he has gotten a handle on the wild spending, but again. unfortunately the perfect storm had already hit the system.......Yes we are deep in debt and it will be a good five years before we see any relieve if even then with the present economy in this country........
The issue between the BTU and Notter is just the dramatics of union negotiations, actually Pat Santermaro and Mr. Notter have been friendly for several years, and continue to be friends in spite of the newspaper articles you read.
Again thanks, but I did run knowing exactly the situation inside the District........
Question: How does someone who doesn't understand basic grammar and can't seem to form a coherent sentence get elected to the sixth-largest school district in America?
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