Three Broward County School Administrators Forced to Resign after Superintendents ‘Swift Action”
Three Broward Schools administrators were forced to resign as part of Superintendent Vickie Cartwright’s pledge to take “swift and immediate action” following a now infamous grand jury report.
Chief of Staff Jeff Moquin, director of diversity and school climate David Watkins, and assistant fire chief official Ron Morgan, were all given an ultimatum: step down from their positions or face a district investigation. Moquin and Watkins both resigned, while Morgan, 62, retired.
According to the Sun Sentinel, the moves came after Tim Hay, director of the state Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools, encouraged in a letter last week Cartwright to cut ties with those negatively named in the scathing grand jury report.
However, Cartwright said in a news conference on Tuesday that the decision was hers and not influenced by Hay’s letter.
“I knew that we needed to take a closer look to what occurred, and we met with the individuals and gave them choices. As far as influence, the grand jury report was already out. It was just a matter of me having the opportunity to go through it and analyze it.”
Watkins failed to cooperate with police and was described as overly guarded in the report. Morgan was blamed for outdated, slow, and unnecessarily harsh inspection standards that delayed the projects and cost the taxpayer unnecessarily.
Pete Tingom, executive director of the Educational Support & Management Association of Broward, spoke out against the move by Cartwright.
“Telling them to either sign a letter of resignation or be investigated, I think that tactic is improper,”
A fourth administrator, Deputy Superintendent Judith Marte, also was mentioned negatively in the report but was not given the same ultimatum. The report said Marte had misled the School board when she said taking out additional financing bonds wouldn’t create an “additional tax” burden on the public.
However, Cartwright said that that is the only mention of Marte in the report. According to the Sun Sentinel, in a letter to Hay, she wrote that a financial adviser and a school financing lawyer she reached out to agreed with Marte’s claims about no additional tax burden being produced. Cartwright also wrote that Marte had not been part of the former superintendent’s cabinet that had guided the school in this direction in the first place.
Cartwright addressed her actions in the meeting on Tuesday.
“There has been significant work that has occurred during my tenure and as a result of the grand jury,” “I remain committed for this district to ensure we are providing a safe and secure learning and working environment for our students and staff members.”