COCONUT CREEK (CBS4)- Former Broward Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant is back on the Broward School Board’s payroll as a guidance counselor, and not everyone is happy about her hiring, or her paycheck.
Oliphant, who now works at the Dave Thomas Education Center in Coconut Creek, beat out 55 other candidates who also wanted the position, CBS4’s Jorge Estevez reported. In her new role, Oliphant will counsel students.
But Oliphant is catching fire because she was hired after she flunked her teacher certification more than a year ago and lost her job at a Fort Lauderdale school. She has since obtained that certificate, and January 31 she began her position as a guidance counselor.
What has people shaking their heads is what she’s being paid. Oliphant will be making $75 thousand a year, at the top end of teacher pay, despite the fact she has spent very little time in the last 25 years in a classroom.
“What are we doing at $75,000 a year and we are going to hire somebody that has been thrown out because of incompetence,” said Michael Hadyn.
Oliphant was removed as Supervisor of Elections by Governor Jeb Bush after a series of troubled elections and charges of management incompetence.
She had been a Broward School Board member, but while she holds a Masters degree, she had not been a teacher until she lost her county position.
“I cannot believe she even got that job,” resident Angel Ambrosio said. “I am really upset about it. I didn’t even know. I don’t think it is right. I don’t think she should be working for any counseling.”
Oliphant’s pay is based on 23 years of what the Broward County School District calls “directly related work experience” including her ten years as a witness coordinator as the Broward Public Defenders office.
“I’m certified. I passed the exams. I’ve got a master’s degree and 23 years experience and I’m qualified, and that’s all I have to say about it,” Oliphant said in a brief telephone conversation Friday with the Sun Sentinel.
The Broward County School District released a statement backing their decision to hire Oliphant.
“Miriam Oliphant not only meets the basic qualifications for a District guidance counselor, but she also has the special skills set required,” said Tracy Lockhart-Talley, Principal of Dave Thomas Education Center.
Her position as a guidance counselor at the Whiddon-Rogers Education Center from 2008 to 2009 raised eyebrows when it was learned she began earning the top salary for teachers after less than a year on the job while holding a temporary teaching certificate.
She worked as a substitute teacher while she obtained the needed teaching certificate.
Oliphant’s salary reached more than $75,000 because she received the $3,000 bonus for having a master’s degree.