The old adage is "Timing is everything"--and that was never more true than this past weekend.
Take for instance, our learning that former Appleton Police Chief David Walsh "earned" himself an extra $10,400 payout from the city by resigning from his position on January 3rd--rather than December 31st. By "working" the first three days of 2012, Walsh made himself eligible to collect all five weeks of vacation that he "wasn't able to take" by quitting his job. In addition, Walsh got a full month of taxpayer-funded health and dental insurance coverage as well.
In a time when public sector compensation is such a hot-button topic, Walsh's three-day "bonus" doesn't help to calm any emotions. Of course, the Appleton Police and Fire Commission is complicit in this boondoggle. They had to know that allow Walsh to "hang on" for that extra half-week would cost the city thousands--but they signed off on the January 3rd resignation date. Why didn't they say "Sorry, Jim--but your last day is going to be December 31st." What was he going to do? Quit?
Another example of nice timing comes from soon-to-be-former Oshkosh School Superintendent Don Viegut--who announced he is qutting at the end of the school year to head up CESA 8. If I was a parent in the Oaklawn Elementary area, I would be marching upon the District Administration Building with pitchforks and torches--since Mr Viegut has pretty much screwed your chance of finally getting a new school. Do you really think Oshkosh voters are going to rally around a lame-duck Superintendent as he tries to sell the "investment in our future" a new school would represent?
In another "thumb in the eye" to taxpayers, Viegut's plan to stay on through June 30th gets the search firm that recommended him for the position off the hook. It didn't get a lot of publicity at the time, but the contract the School Board signed with the firm provided the district with a guarantee that if Viegut didn't work here for at least two years, they would conduct another search FREE OF CHARGE. But of course, by staying on through the end of June, Viegut reaches the two year deadline--and the district will have to pay full-price for help on another search. Thanks for that "commitment", Don.
I guess it would be good timing to point out now that former District Finance Director Todd Gray is in his fourth year as Waukesha School Superintendent--and getting good reviews in that position. Gray was rejected as a finalist for the Oshkosh Superintendent position by the School Board back in 2008--because he was "too much of a numbers guy" and not focused enough on "progressive educational ideas". (Of course Gray and his wife didn't run in the same social circles as Karen Bowen and Amy Weinsheim--so that hurt his chances as well. I'm sure those two are telling their friends today "If we had just hired David Gundlach--and someone else to supervise his wife--we wouldn't be in this mess again").