The Weyauwega-Fremont School Board did not to meet in a planned closed session Monday, Aug. 25, after a district resident questioned if the session had been properly posted on the agenda.
A motion to go into closed session failed 1-6.
Kurt Duxbury voted in favor of going into closed session, while Debi Bartel, Doug Ehrenberg, Dan Kohl, Neal Loehrke, Sandy Smith and Jim Stuebs voted not to do so.
It was Loehrke’s wife Rachel who expressed her concern to the board.
She said the district posted the agenda inappropriately, because specific names were not included for the closed session agenda item.
The agenda for the Aug. 25 meeting was posted at 11:35 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 21.
The closed session item was posted as:
“The board plans to adjourn to closed session pursuant to Section 19.85(1)(c), Wis., Stats., for the following purpose of considering the employment, promotion, compensation or performance evaluation data of any public employee over which the governmental body has jurisdiction or exercises responsibility.”
Below that, the agenda for the closed session then noted two items – that the purpose of the closed session would be to review the district’s business manager and network administrator positions.
The Waupaca County Post asked District Administrator Scott Bleck if anyone questioned the closed session agenda, after it was posted on Aug. 21.
“There was no feedback or concern prior to that (Monday) night,” he said.
Bleck said the district’s attorney, Greg Gill Sr., always reviews agendas for closed sessions and approves them before they are posted.
Bleck told the board that Gill gave the agenda his OK.
The question about the posting was brought up during the “visitors” portion of the board’s agenda and then again when the board was ready to go into closed session.
Bleck said both the business manager and network administrator positions have been posted.
He said the board was going to review potential candidates and discuss scenarios.
Before the board voted on the motion to go into closed session, Ehrenberg, who is the board’s president, also said names of people were to be discussed.
However, Kohl said, “She is kind of right. We are supposed to name the people.”
In regard to statements about the district’s legal counsel reviewing the agenda, Kohl reminded the board of the 2009 decision that resulted in board members paying fines of $100 each for an open meetings violation that occurred in 2007.
Kohl noted that the legal counsel the district had at that time also reviewed the agendas.
“Then we can’t trust our lawyer?” Smith said.
She said if the posting was incorrect, she wants that information relayed to Gill.
Bleck said he will contact Gill and if a different posting is required for the closed session, it will be posted accordingly.
Also on Monday, the board voted 6-1 to dismiss the joint business manager agreement it had with the Manawa School District. Loehrke voted no.
For the past several years, the two districts shared a business manager.
The Manawa School District held the contract and then had a contract with the W-F School District.
Dan Storch most recently held the business manager position and worked part time for both of the districts.
On July 30, Storch submitted his resignation to the Manawa School District.
Both school districts then posted for their own part-time business managers.
During the W-F board’s Aug. 11 Committee of the Whole meeting, Loehrke questioned if the agreement the district had with Manawa was still valid.
Ehrenberg then planned to contact the district’s legal counsel for an opinion and did so.
After making contact with Gill, Ehrenberg learned it was appropriate for the board to recommend approval of a resolution that terminates the agreement the two districts had to share a business manager.
The resolution was also sent to the Manawa School District.
Bleck was told the earliest the Manawa district would be able to act on the resolution would be during its September board meeting.
Smith said that perhaps in the future, the district should make sure it includes termination as part of any agreements with other school districts.