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Oliphant Fired As School Guidance Counselor

FT. LAUDERDALE - (CBS4) – The furor over the Broward School District's hiring of former Broward elections supervisor Miriam Oliphant came to a head Friday as Superintendent Jim Notter ordered her to be fired.

Oliphant, who was removed from her elections post by Governor Jeb Bush after allegations of mismanagement, was hired January 31st as a high school guidance counselor at the Dave Thomas Education Center at a $75 thousand annual salary, despite the fact she has little teaching experience, and most of her connection with the school system was as a former school board member.

The Broward School District conducted a review of how she was hired over 55 other applicants for the job. In the review report written by Jim Notter, he stated, "As a result of the review, staff found weaknesses in the screening process. It was determined that there were additional applicants that could have been considered for an interview."

It went on, "Due to the results of said review, the District has exercised its authority under Florida Statute 1012.33 (3)(a)4 which prescribes that a newly hired employee on an initial employment contract may be terminated without cause during the first 97 workday probationary period or the employee may resign without breach of contract.

Ms. Oliphant, a former District employee, was rehired in January 2011, and met the qualifications for the position. She is on an initial annual contract, and at this time is a probationary employee. Her last day of employment is Friday, April 1st and her name will be added to the April 5, 2011 Board agenda," states the report.

The review also focused on her salary. When hired, she was given the top salary authorized for the position, a move school officials said was justified because of her experience. However, little of that experience was as a teacher, ruffling the feathers of critics who questioned the decision, and some teachers with more experience who were not considered for the position.

According to the review, "staff was unable to substantiate the determination made regarding Ms. Oliphant's salary placement. Under the new procedures established this year, Ms. Oliphant would have to provide additional substantive documentation for verification of direct work-related experience in order to receive credit.

Effective immediately, Human Resources staff will review the entire hiring process to ensure that all of our principals have better guidelines and procedures for screening and interviewing job applicants. In addition, the District's procedures for rehiring instructional personnel with previous work-related experience credit have changed. Former employees, who apply for re-employment with the District, will be treated as new applicants. Upon rehiring a former employee of the District, the administration will conduct a mandatory review and verification of all work-related experience credit. Work-related experience credit that had been previously approved would be subject to re-evaluation."

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