FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The Broward School Board voted Tuesday to approve the firing of Miriam Oliphant from her job as a guidance counselor at an alternative high school. Within hours, her attorney filed a demand for a virtual pile of public records relating to Oliphant’s hiring and firing, and hinted she may sue for racial discrimination.

A former School Board member herself, Oliphant was hired January 31st as a counselor at the Dave Thomas Education Center at a salary of $75-thousand a year despite the fact that she had little teaching experience. Previously, she was the county’s Supervisor of Elections but was removed from that office by Governor Jeb Bush for mismanagement.

Oliphant had appeared before the Broward County School Board on Tuesday to beg for her job. During the hearing, Oliphant said her firing was racially motivated.

“I was targeted. This is the worst act of racism, and I am a good person,” Oliphant told the Board.

The Broward School District conducted a review of how she was hired over 55 other applicants for the job.

“I found there were other qualified candidates who were not interviewed,” said Superintendent James Notter at the meeting.

In the review report written by 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.”

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.”

Notter concluded his report by stating, “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.

Oliphant offered to give up ten to twenty thousand dollars in salary to retain her position, but the board refused to budge.

However, School Board Member David Thomas feels that more needs to be done. He wants to know where the ball was dropped in regards to Oliphant’s hiring.

“Was it here at the district?” Thomas asked. “Was it at the school site? Where was it? What happened? Why did it happen? And if there’s people that need to be held accountable then they need to be held accountable.”

But, Oliphant may not be done just yet. She has hired  well-known labor attorney Karen Amlong to help her determine her next move.

The school board said she can reapply for her job next year.

Oliphant’s attorney, Karen Amlong, issued a statement late Tuesday afternoon saying Oliphant would re-apply for the position. She also took issue with Notter’s reasoning.

“A ‘flawed’ selection process is not a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason to fire someone who has been determined qualified for a position,” said Amlong. “The interview committee selected her, Mr. Notter’s office recommended that the Board hire her and the Board approved her hiring and her salary.”

She noted Oliphant was the only black counselor at the school for high-risk children, and said her client is considering a racial discrimination lawsuit against the school. She has demanded documents from the school district to document Notter’s claim that the process used to hire Oliphant was flawed.

“It will be interesting to see who was not on the ‘short list’ for interviews and whom Mr. Notter believes was unfairly passed over in favor of Ms. Oliphant,” Amlong said. “Once we get the School Board’s response to our request, Ms. Oliphant will decide whether to pursue a race discrimination suit.”

Comments (29)
  1. barry cohen says:

    The brazenous of this political hack. She’s lucky she isn’t behind bars. If they give her ANY job in ANY Broward public office or school, they should all be put in the slammer.

  2. Maria Lujan Balderrama says:

    What a circus and the joke is on our children…seriously!?
    A third grader to pass the FCAT, must know the definitions of words like “Exploits”, “Upheaval” “Pilfered”… and the school board members and its employees can not make sense of words like EDUCATION and DIGNITY, simply because they simple do not have it.
    AND they are pushing parent to dope their children who cannot keep up with absurd curriculum’s goals. When Out of 36 children, 20 cannot keep up… it not the children’s or parent’s or Teacher’s fault. Keep showing us some more, great example of the grand decadence of the educational system!

  3. BVC says:

    Now days everything is related to “Racism” . Unbelievable.

    1. Chet says:

      I think we’re all getting sick of that excuse !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Andy Carr says:

    I hope she goes away and we never hear from her again. A real idiot who has taken advantage of her friendships to get hired. Broward is the perfect example that the problem with public education is not the teachers, but the administrators.

  5. tacnacs says:

    the whole broward school board should be disolved and start a fresh. notter is leaving his position because of family issue. if you believe that then i have a bridge i want to sell. m. oliphant has the gall to show up for a broward county job after the fiasco she did to the election board, how stupid could board be and how did she even get to be interviewed with the top salary no less. this has to be totally investisgated because this was an inside job being done.

  6. lmmd says:

    she may or may not be a good person but she’s been been proven to be a poor excuse of an administrator

    1. Chet says:

      AND THAT’S A FACT !!!

  7. James Vegas says:

    Racism my butt! But something definitly crocked and sneaky as to how she got that job.

    1. Jimbo99 says:

      Show me one job where the playing field was level and I’ll buy this argument. Her elections administration job, Bush scapegoated her for what happened. With these people their lives are a series of back room deals. From elementary school on the education isn’t equal, opportunities in this world unfair and unequal, you don’t have to be black, white, hispanic or asian to get screwed out in South Florida. Last place I worked, we constantly had directors hired and then mysteriously move on at the place. The math on that, a tweener executive until something else was created elsewhere. I see Oliphant as one of those that was brought into the fold, when something went wrong, scapegoat she became. And now we have friends of friends trying to make things right over that, then another steps in and does the same thing and uses it as a public tool to further their pr in the community. Really, 55 applicants, some weren’t interviewed. When was the last time any employer interviewed all 55 applicants for any job ?

  8. Hater says:

    Another day at the zoo! South Florida has truly hit an all time low! This woman belongs in JAIL!

  9. Jimbo99 says:

    Oh, and Notter is on his way out of a $ 300K job. Want to save some money, knock that down to about $ 100K or the $ 75K that Oliphant stands to make. I can save Broward county $ 200+ K right there on Notter & his replacement.

  10. IQ says:

    STOP THE RACISM !

    You people DO NOT understand … Miriam Oilphant IS A ROLE MODEL !

    In fact, she is Broward County’s finest ROLE MODEL for Diversity

    Don’t listen to those that say that she mismanaged & corrupted the Supervisor of Elections office …

    She was a VICTIM .. a VICTIM of BUSH … a VICTIM of RACISM !

    Don’t listen to those that say she was unqualified for this new position …

    She was on the SCHOOL BOARD … and she was the SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS !

    She is a VICTIM …

    She deserves to be next SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS … that way, she

    can show everyone just how Diversity works !

    1. Chet says:

      I THINK IT’S PRETTY CLEAR THAT THE ABOVE WAS WRITTEN BY HER OR ONE OF HER FRIENDS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Vinmoe6878 says:

    It’s not racism just because you were fired..It is called lying on your job application and also being able to fire for no reason when on probation…

    1. Concerncitizenof Libertycity says:

      How do you get “lying on the job application”, her Master’s Degree qualified her for the position. It’s like you have a preconceive conclusion and no matter if you read something contrary, it’s like having your head in the sand. Stop persecuting her for her past.

      1. Robert says:

        We can only gauge what she might do in the future by what she stooped to do in the past!

  12. James Vegas says:

    When will the time come when people stop playing the stupid race card?

  13. tomtom1 says:

    why are we even talking about this stupid arrogant lame brain tax sucking B

  14. Res Ume says:

    She lied about her experience and duties on her job application. That, and only that, is the reason she deserves to be fired.

  15. Chet says:

    SHE NEEDS TO CRAWL BACK UNDER THAT ROCK & STAY THERE THIS TIME-TALK ABOUT PITIFUL

  16. LEAD71 says:

    I WONDER WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE PEOPLE/PERSON WHO ALLOWED HER TO BE PAID THAT SALARY….IT SEEMS NOBODY KNOWS WHO AUTHORIZED IT….SHAME ON BROWARD COUNTY….FIRED….I DON’T THINK SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN BUT SALARY DECREASE OR ANOTHER POSITION ELSEWHERE WOULD HAVE MADE SENSE…SHE DID NOT TELL THE PEOPLE/PERSON TO GIVE HER THE MAX PAY….SOMEONE DID IT ON THEIR OWN…WHERE ARE THE WATCHDOGS IN BROWARD’S SCHOOL SYSTEM?

    1. Robert says:

      Racism is displayed over and over when the person interviewing the applicantts is a black man, I have been there where a guy standing in front of me for an application for a job at Dade County, he stated the job that he was applying for and was immediately given an application (he was black) yet when it was my turn (I am white) and asked for the same position… I was asked to list what technical training I had for that job and that I had to come back with the certificates for proof.
      Racism… yeah tell me about it

  17. ringleader says:

    Miriam Eliphant fits right in with the school board circus.

  18. James Vegas says:

    So what if she is the only black guidance counselor. Black kids don’t go to school anyways. They get their guidance from the rappers and gangstas.

  19. lmmd says:

    may she spend lots for legal fees and get no where

  20. TR says:

    THE REAL PROBLEM … CORRUPTION

    Find and remove the CORRUPTION from the SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION

    This a just another example of School Administrators using their positions to give a an “under qualified” crony $75,000 of the taxpayers money

    You can be certain the OLIPHANT did not see the position advertised and
    apply like a “regular” citizen …

    She used her connections to get a $75,000 position … what the position was, or whether she was qualified for the position was not an issue …

    When CORRUPTION is involved you don’t have to be QUALIFIED and you don”t have to JUSTIFY the salary paid …

    The School Adminstrators that actually hired her need to be REMOVED !!

  21. jacqui kimbrough says:

    Is this woman a poser? Sssms like she is always getting fired.Who does she know? Inquisitive minds are curious. J.K.

  22. the_invisible says:

    Good. Now fire the BC School Board. The ones who aren’t directly corrupt close their eyes while their cronies loot the coffers. Yet citizens don’t bother to come out and vote when these criminals are up for reelection so they get right back in there to do it some more. Maybe when your kids are stuffed 50-60 deep in a classroom next year with a teacher who just graduated drilling for FCAT only it will get your attention.