Letter- Says action was improperI have served 12 years total in elected office, both school board and county board positions. I have a lifelong interest in public service, and am an interested participant
By: Sharon Norton-Bauman, Hudson, Hudson Star-Observer
I have served 12 years total in elected office, both school board and county board positions. I have a lifelong interest in public service, and am an interested participant in helping to create a viable, vibrant, interesting and affordable place to live.
I attended the school board meeting on July 10 expecting to learn about the workings of the board and the educational opportunities available in the Hudson district. The agenda for the meeting seemed vague to me, and not in accordance with my learned interpretation of the open meetings statutes for Wisconsin, the agenda being open-ended without enough information to inform interested parties what was to be reported or discussed.
However, I certainly did not anticipate what was to occur at that meeting. The sabotage of a former employee, April Simmons, and a sitting board member, Sandy Gehrke, was beyond reprehensible to me. I can say with certainty that the two bodies on which I served would never have acted in the manner exhibited Tuesday evening by Hudson School Board members.
There were procedures in place to investigate personnel or ethics complaints, without damaging the reputations of those accused of a violation. The counsels to the bodies on which I served informed members that personnel files are never to be shared without written permission by the employee. Ethics complaints were examined in a closed session, with opportunity for the accused to face the accuser and have an opportunity for explanation and defense. None of those things happened during the lynching which occurred during the school board meeting.
Mick Waldspurger, attorney for the Hudson school board, apparently was given permission by the board to viciously accuse and attack publicly both Ms. Simmons and Ms. Gehrke, without notice to either of them that they would be unfairly excoriated. I am outraged by his comments, and concerned for possible legal action against the school board. I am sorely disappointed that not one of the school board members spoke up for fairness. It seemed that they were aware of what was to occur, and approved of Waldspurger's approach.
There is a provision in Wisconsin open meeting law that is called “walking quorum” -- board members are not to have discussions and agreement beforehand on any issues that are on an agenda. We deserve better than this behavior from our elected officials. Apologies are in order to all involved in this defamation.
Sharon Norton-Bauman, Hudson