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School board creates ethics commission

Bob Butterworth, George Allen and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler will head the commission.

Three prominent Broward attorneys will be spearheading a commission on ethics for Broward County Public Schools. During a press conference Wednesday morning, James Notter, superintendent for Broward County Public Schools, announced the Commission on Education Excellence through Integrity, Public Ethics, and Transparency.

Former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, former State Representative and current Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and W. George Allen, Esq will be heading the commission to enact changes in the sixth largest school district in the nation. The commission will immediately initiate a 90-day fact-finding analysis of the District’s practices, procedures and supporting policies to ensure that these align with the highest level of integrity and best business practices. Public input venues will be provided, as well as on-going updates at advertised School Board workshops.  The commission will look closely at auditing procedures, procurement, ethics codes, lobbying codes, spousal relationships as well as other aspects to provide a full report.

During the conference, Seiler noted that the Broward School Board language was woefully lacking in several areas related to these issues.

“We are looking for this particular commission to function 100 percent independently of the school district,” said Notter. “We’ve had a hard time recently, and we want to establish change in the public school system and create a high level of integrity and bring back the public confidence.”

Notter said he, and school board chair Maureen Dinnen kept speaking about what the school board to do and eventually decided an independent panel was necessary to look at the processes. Recently, Beverly Gallagher, a school board member, was arrested for various bribery-related charges, along with two other local elected officials.

“In light of recent events, we feel there is a crisis of confidence in the Broward school district, and it’s not enough for us to do a self-study,” said Dinnen. “We will take their recommendations

From left: Jennifer Gottlieb, Bob Butterworth, George Allen, Mayor Jack Seiler, Superintendent James Notter and School Board Chair Maureen Dinnen discuss the commission.

The commission will be funded through the Broward County School Board, though a budget has yet to be determined. Funds will be used to hire staff to conduct research into best practices across the nation, as well as across the state. Seiler also mentioned working with the local colleges for input.

Notter said the commission will have free reign of the school district to access records, staff and any information needed without having to get permission from the school board. All staff members hired will also be independent of the school district.

The commission didn’t know when the next meeting would be held since the commission was officially pulled together last week in Butterworth’s office.

“We hope this will be come a standard (across the nation),” said Butterworth.

“Yes, it’s a lot of work,” said Allen, a Florida native and product of Florida schools. “But we hope it will be duplicated across the state and in other agencies.”

Related posts:

  1. Broward School Board Ethics Panel to Hold Second Public Hearing
  2. Citizens closest to school board speak to Broward schools ethics panel
  3. Broward School Board meeting today to talk budget
  4. School board ethics panel holding final public hearing in March at Cooper City High
  5. Teachers’ union planning loud protest tonight at school board

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Posted by Andrea Freygang on Oct 28 2009. Filed under Broward County, Families, Fort Lauderdale, Local news, Schools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “School board creates ethics commission”

  1. Sharon T.

    I like this article. I hope you will follow this boundary change issue. The Cooper City residents came together for a workshop last night at the Cooper City High school and the place was packed. Please help us keep the pressure on. From what we learned last night this is just the beginning as plans are to do this throughout the state.


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