Hey, times are tough. Jobs are scarce. So I guess it's understandable that Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserman-Rubin has hired someone inside her extended political family to take a key paid role in her 2010 campaign.
Wasserman-Rubin, who has been hit with ethical violations in the past, hired Ann Gallagher as her "campaign coordinator." Gallagher is the daughter of Broward School Board Member Beverly Gallagher, one of Wasserman-Rubin's close political allies. The latest campaign report shows that Wasserman-Rubin, pictured at left, paid the younger Gallagher about $3,500 from April to June for her services.
I tried to contact Ann Gallagher, but she didn't answer her cell phone (the number of which was supplied to me by Wasserman-Rubin's office), so I left her a message. Hey, Wasserman-Rubin is a former School Board member herself, and it can't hurt to keep strong political ties with current board members.
I hear Annie first learned the political ropes while working for none other than consultant and lobbyist Barbara Miller, a kingmaker from Hollywood.
There are possibly some ethical issues at play here, since Miller has been a big political supporter of Ann's mom on the School Board. On top of that, Bev Gallagher has voted to give some of Miller's School Board clients -- like Pirtle Construction and Zyscovich Inc. -- tens of millions of dollars in School Board projects (some of them unnecessary schools and classroom additions that have added to the bloat and helped run the board into near-bankruptcy).
Bev Gallagher actually loves to use her public office to get jobs for herself and her family. She works, of course, at Community Blood Centers, a $50,000-plus job she got with the help of Miller's partner, Neil Sterling. And if you want to contact her other daughter, Meghan, just call the School Board's construction department. She works there as a project manager and got that rather vaunted position right out of college. (Of course, her mother's job as School Board honcho had NOTHING to do with it.)
Yeah, but who cares anyway? With Michael Satz in charge, politicians in Broward County can pretty much do whatever they want. Hey, School Board members always like to say that what they do is about the children. We just didn't know that they really meant their own.