Friday, January 13, 2006

Stillwater: Small Town "Democracy in Action" Quote of the Month

“The Treasurer, Clerk and the Vice Chair (of the District 834 School Board) don’t really do anything.”—Christopher Kunze, Vice Chair of the District 834 School Board, quoted in the Stillwater Courier, January 12, 2006.

Wow! Talk about candor in local politics. I wonder if Hoffman and Junker are okay with Kunze saying that they don’t do “anything.” I mean, it’s okay for Kunze to announce that he does nothing as vice chair of the School Board (though why he would want to announce that is a mystery to me.) But is it really fair to your colleagues to tell everyone that they don’t do anything, either?

I mean, come on. They must do something. They’ve got heartbeats, haven’t they? I mean, they must—digest food, breathe, I don’t know.

As a local already pointed out, holding an office on the school board is at least “resume fluff”—meaning, if you aspire to hold a higher political office some day, it sounds good if you’re able to tell prospective voters that you served a couple of years “Treasurer” or “Clerk” or “Vice-Chairman” of the Board, or something like that.

Of course, this credential on your resume loses some of its luster if one of your colleagues is going around town telling the local newspapers that someone who holds your position on the board doesn’t “really do anything.” That's not going to look good on Kunze's campaign literature, if he has plans to run for office again in the future.

I don’t know, maybe Kunze’s right. Maybe they don’t really do anything. Why don’t they find out if they’re supposed to be doing something? Isn’t there something in the school board’s charter somewhere that would tell these guys what they are supposed to be doing if they hold these posts? I can’t imagine that the charter says “the vice chair and treasurer and clerk of the board shall sit there and do jack shit for their terms of office.”

Some guy wrote in to the blog and informed us that the duties of the Clerk to the School Board included making a final edit of the minutes for each meeting and signing legal documents. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it seems likely that the post would require someone to do something. Why is Kunze going around telling people that the Clerk and the Treasurer don’t do anything? For that matter, why is Kunze going around telling people that Kunze doesn’t do anything? What kind of school district leadership strategy is that; telling the voters that you don’t really do anything?

Those were rhetorical questions, by the way. What bugs me is: if the people who hold these offices (vice chair, treasurer and clerk) “don’t really do anything,” then why the reluctance on the part of the board’s conservative bloc (Thole, Kunze, Hoffman and Junker) to share some of them with their more experienced colleagues on the board? I mean—if, as Kunze indicates, these offices are really only just meaningless “joke” titles, what’s the big deal about refusing to share them with the rest of the board? Doing so could only help the conservatives on the board, by making them look less partisan than they are.


At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the policy for the school board officers. Note that the Clerk - Choc, in this case - "...shall keep records of all meetings, prepare and sign all legal documents and perform such other duties as may be prescribed."

Isn't it comforting knowing that a person who can't hear, read or understand much of anything is doing this important work? He was also the board liaison for District 916, but didn't do much. (He received over $4000 per year for that position for 2 years...hopefully someone who can do more that sit there is appointed this year) Here's his input from the Nov 2005 meeting minutes in 916:
"Member Junker reported that Stillwater's school board election is big with three open seats and six running." Wow.

Then there's the District 916 meeting in 2004 where he reported that a Stillwater bank had been robbed by a naked person, and that Jessica Lange was selling her house. Really pertinent news about the district.

All board members are supposed to provide a written report to the Stillwater board at least quarterly, but only Tollefsrud did it regularly(she also received a stipend of $3000/year for serving on the EMID board).

Board liaison positions will be assigned at the next meeting. Check out who does what - Hoffman, Kunze, Thole, Buchman and Junker have done very little in the last years - Aronson and Tollefsrud did all the heavy lifting.


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