Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tryin' To Reason With the Hurricane Season

(with copious apologies to Jimmy Buffett)

And the award for the Most Confoundedly Enigmatic School Board Member goes to....Caren Diedrich!

In April, she won re-election by receiving nearly 2000 votes, leapfrogging Al Slane by more than 300 votes. This event blew many in the community away. "How could she have been elected over Al Slane, who appeared to be coming into his own as a board member?", many asked...and are still asking.

Here is just a sampling of our too many termed school board member's antics.

Is This Compliant With Political Sign Ordnances?
We have two reported sightings of Diedrich walking about within the community wearing an "Elect Caren Diedrich" t-shirt prior to the April 2010 Election. The aformentioned residents have been duly flogged for not thinking to snap a cell phone pic.

Going Walkabout
This past Monday, Ms. Diedrich attended the FTT Committee's tour of the "Prairie Phoenix Academy"and then proceeded to go walkabout----disappearing in the middle of the tour without saying a word and walking from the to the Municipal Building. WTF?

No Kit Kat Bars for You!
By God after hearing a report that employees were now receiving granola bars on their birthdays instead of KitKat bars, she checked to be sure that employees are not getting either! Diedrich has now successfully wrestled the crown of Birthday Treat Nazi from Rick Mealy.

The Case of the Stinky Smoking Coffee Maker
After clearly being on the wrong end of a Finance Committee 'unofficial' vote to recommend discontinuing personal appliance fees, Diedrich tossed a 'Hail Mary' and requested that the issue be moved to the FTT Committee to review the safety hazard of these personal appliances being left on over the weekend. Hello! Does she really think that having to pay an appliance fee has ANY relationship to remembering to turn said appliances off at night and over the weekend???

Battling against the second Police Liaison Officer (PLO)
Diedrich clearly wasn't pleased with the board's decision to hire a second Police Liaison Officer a year earlier than planned. She was clearly fuming. To make her point, when the official contract came before the board this week, she pored over that contract with a fine-toothed magnifying lens. Perhaps hoping to sway the board to reconsider their decision, or at least serve as a fly in the ointment, Diedrich asked:
---are we paying the PLO for snow days [Yes]
---we're providing the officer with an office? a computer? a phone? [Yes...did you want him to sit in the hallway and pass notes?]
---Does he need a desk phone AND a cell phone [um...YES]
---if the PLO is called away on another police emergency, are we still charged for that time? [Yes...but often does that occur?]
---Do we have liability insurance to cover the PLO? We have someone in the schools who has a gun on his hip. [ have for years]

Going Off the Deep End Debacle - the Pool Manager Fiasco
Many are still wondering how we hired a Pool Manager for $51,250 per year ( Yes...a POOL Manager for that amount!) after the school board voted in open session (4-3) to set the salary at $40,000. Well...

Initially Caren Diedrich was on the majority side of a 5-2 public vote to reduce the Pool manager salary to $40,000 (Admin requested $45,000+). Then the closed door sessions began, and by a vote of 4-3, we're told by several community members(who must be talking to board members!) , the board agreed to increase the salary range. It is reported that Caren Diedrich was 1 of 2 board members to flip her vote from the public session. [ Geee...nothing like publicly looking like a fiscal conservative to the taxpayers that elected you , only to flipflop behind closed doors and outside the public eye!] But it doesn't end there!

Remember that there was ANOTHER closed door session called? Reports from multiple sources indicate that Diedrich requested a meeting because she had "changed her mind and wanted to change her vote". Of course what wasn't said (that we know of) was that Diedrich, being the swing vote, essentially held the board hostage because if she changed her vote at the open meeting and voted AGAINST hiring the Pool Manager, the board and district would look really, really, really wacky. the end...what happens? Diedrich fully votes to hire the Pool Manager at a salary over 25% HIGHER than what she originally voted! This has got open records request written all over it. The truth WILL come out!

We're wondering which version of Ms. Diedrich will manifest itself when raises for Administration are discussed at the board table (or behind closed doors) and Administration Support raises go through her HR committee.

Never a dull moment. Trying to make sense of Ms. Diedrich's actions is like trying to reason with the hurricane season. Batten down the hatches for 3 more years of this.

And now I must confess,
I could use some rest.
I can't run at this pace very long.
Yes, it's quite insane,
I think it hurts my brain.
But it cleans me out and then I can go on.
--Jimmy Buffet: "Trying to Reason With the Hurricane Season"