Neil W. McCabe – National Political Correspondent – Tallahassee, Fla.
UPDATED 4:30 PM PT – Tuesday, August 30, 2022
As Broward County, Florida, jurors continued to deliberate sentencing for Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland school shooter, the state’s Republican governor suspended four members of the Broward County School Board citing their incompetence and malfeasance in addressing school safety issues.
“It is my duty to suspend people from office when there is clear evidence of incompetence, neglect of duty, misfeasance and malfeasance,” said Gov. Ronald D. DeSantis, who cited both his authority as the state’s chief executive and the recommendation from the Twentieth Statewide Grand Jury.
The decision came more than four years after the St Valentine’s Day 2018 spree shooting.
DeSantis said the findings of a statewide grand jury validated the findings of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Commission.
The grand jury recommended the suspension of four school board members, Patricia Good, Donna Korn, Ann Murray, and Laurie Rich Levinson because of their incompetence, neglect of duty and misuse of authority.
Among the grand jury’s findings were that the site of the St. Valentine’s Day 2018 spree shooting, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and other schools in the county still do not have safety alarm systems installed as well as students are now forced to endure classes in.
The grand jury’s report said they found unsafe, aging, decrepit, moldy buildings that were supposed to be removed years ago, and that the four school board members created a permissive environment for fraud and mismanagement.
The grand jury criticized the board’s mismanagement of a multimillion-dollar fund dedicated to school safety and renovation initiatives.
DeSantis appointed four new school board members who took office immediately: Torey Alston, a businessman and former Broward County Board Commissioner; Nandy Serrano, a former Florida State baseball standout and founder of Clubhouse Private Wealth; Ryan Reiter, a Marine Corps veteran, and a government relations director for local construction company and Kevin Tynan, an attorney and previous county school board member.
A fifth member of the school board recommended for removal, Rosalyn Osgood, was board chairwoman before she resigned to take office in the Florida state Senate.