Civic Leaders Supporting Disgraced Florida School Superintendent Cannot Answer for Their Own Organizations

(Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Seems that what is deemed forgivable is a rather fluid standard in Broward County.

A recent rally was held in downtown Fort Lauderdale organized by a number of civic leaders and business interests to lend support for a long controversial and currently disgraced public figure. In most parts of the country, this might be seen as an oddity. It is the status quo in Broward County.

There are plenty of allowances one makes when living in Florida. You forego seasonal changes. You accept that daily psychotic breaks are part of the culture here. Additionally, especially in South Florida, the expectation of banana republic politics is the norm. While never actually accepted, you need to be ready for these political uprisings, and we currently have one in play regarding the school board.

Days ago, the Broward County Schools superintendent, Obama acolyte Robert Runcie, was taken in, along with a school board lawyer, over perjury charges stemming from a grand jury investigation looking into the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The primary thrust is looking into the misappropriation of money and fraud stemming from funds allocated for enhanced school safety measures. 

The fact that this led to backing from a number of entities in the county is not too shocking to anyone living here for a duration. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, The United Way, and the CEO of City Furniture, a major retail outlet in the county, were on hand to lend vocal support. They praised Runcie for assisting the local business interests, and non-profit organizations — details which fall outside the skill set of a superintendent. 

At the rally, there was no intent of fielding questions. Local political reporter Tom Lauder was on hand and tried to ask the gathered performers how they would react to their own employees who were brought up on perjury charges. The avoidance of the question was rather expressive.

The sham behind all of this is that the backers of Runcie want to imply that this was the result of a manufactured political hit job. In order to sell this fable, they need us to overlook certain core truths, such as the arrest was conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, stemming from charges arrived at through a grand jury, presided over by citizens. 

It is not as if Runcie has a clear record to fall back in the community. Following the shooting, he directed the school board to fight back against the release of public records, something Barbara Myrick, the lawyer arrested along with Runcie last week, helped to enforce. Later, when records had been released, the ineptitude of the school board was on full display. They attempted legal action against the local newspaper when they had failed to properly redact portions of the documents and that information became legible.

Such is life in the political spectrum of this area, where professional indolence and corruption are considered defendable actions. Being brought up on serious charges is a career enhancement. The only thing more preferred is to be brought up on federal charges during an election cycle; then you are nearly assured of a victory at the polls.