If I am fortunate to win a third Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Award for Excellence in Radio Editorial Content after this year, I am going to have the plaque sent to Oshkosh School Board President John Lemberger's house. Lemberger has become my main Two Cents inspiration--my muse. The Cleo to my Chaucer, the Gala to my Dali, the Yoko Ono to my John Lennon.
The man is a neverending source of material. Efforts to silence dissention on the board? Did that. Defended open meetings violations? Did that. Declared war on accurate reporting of School Board actions by the local Newspaper? Did that as well. And now Mr Lemberger has come out admitting that he knew all along the Superintendent Don Viegut was shopping around for another job--but didn't think that was the kind of thing other members of the School Board should know.
To add further inspiration this morning, Lemberger "can't remember" if Viegut came to him for a letter of recommendation before or after the School Board voted to give Viegut a two year contract extension back in October. Viegut's application went in the mail about two weeks after that Board meeting. I'd be willing to bet that it was before--and that Lemberger knew full well that Viegut was one foot out the door as he poo-pooed Ben Schneider's concerns about giving two year contracts to administrators who never seem to fulfill them.
And in defending his actions during questions from our reporter last night, Lemberger said he "Owed it to his relationship with Viegut" to remain mum. I guess that lets the other six members of the School Board that elected Lemberger their President know where they stand. It's okay if they find out huge news from reporters calling them at home on a Saturday afternoon--because that is when the District made its announcement about Viegut leaving. Better to have your six colleagues look like they have no idea what is going on with the District that they are supposed to be leading. And don't feed me this stuff about how letting people know Viegut was unhappy here and shopping around would erode public confidence. How many times has UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells been a finalist for a job somewhere else--and the campus hasn't slid into the river yet.
Somebody needs to remind John Lemberger that this isn't the Faculty Senate, or the Child Education Consortium or the Winnebago County Labor Council that he is running here. This is the Oshkosh School Board. THIS IS REAL GOVERNMENT!!! With real rules guiding its operation--and a primary commitment to the people who elect its members and fund its operations. NOT preferred employees.
Of course, if he was to get the message--what woud he have to talk about every other week?