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School Board Email Reveals Even More Dysfunction

Start this Monday with a current events rundown.

Obama is making a strong charge (making for what will be a historically contentious, Florida-centric convention).

Shawn Marion is about to learn how to lose (a lot).

Thousands of worthy students are getting shut out of Florida's universities because of enrollment caps and budget cuts.

And Scott Wyman is reporting on Broward County Auditor Evan Lukic's findings of waste and blatant corruption at the airport.

Talk about auditors uncovering waste and blatant corruption, how about that school board? You got lobbyists Neil Sterling and Barbara Miller running campaigns -- and running the show for their construction and architecture clients. And you got auditors Pat Reilly and Dave Rhodes uncovering all kinds of shenanigans in the construction department.

I wrote a column about the auditors' work and the rising tension with the school board's construction department, especially with Deputy Superintendent Mike Garretson who oversees the billion dollar (or so) school-building operation.

Well, if a recent email sent from Garretson to Reilly is any evidence, it's getting worse. Garretson sent the Feb. 7 email, which was cc'd to Superintendent Jim Notter, in response to Reilly's questions about items Garretson was putting before the board. (Unfortunately I don't yet have Reilly's original email). And Garretson was obviously livid about being told to pull the items from the agenda. Here's the text:

As I said we will withdraw the items until you are satisfied. I am not responding to your comments and their validity rather I take extreme exception to the tone of your comments. They are very insulting to a fellow ELT member. I have no doubt Mr. Rhodes wrote your response. You do not seem able to control him. He conducts himself like a prosecutor not an auditor. He spent a day sitting in our parking lot taking down license plate numbers. He gave that bizarre interview to New Times which made the entire district look foolish. You were present when he shouted at me that I talked to him like his father and he hated his father. I will work with you but I cannot allow to go unnoticed comments that I have never seen in a professional audit. I absolutely feel that attacking me is more important than getting at the facts.

Michael C. Garretson Deputy Superintendent Facilities & Construction Department

Look Garretson, nothing personal, but Rhodes' interview with me didn't make the district seem foolish. The construction department does a pretty good job of it on its own. And I want you to know we're all grateful you're willing to work with school board auditors. Didn't even know you had a choice.

And it's funny you bring up prosecutors. Michael Satz, what do you think about all this?

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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