hearts and minds

March 29, 2007

Cedarburg’s Lone Ranger vs the Three Musketeers

Filed under: Education,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 3:06 pm

Whether you and I agree on everything, or even anything, one thing I’m sure we both believe in is that uncontested elections do our communities a disservice. Good governance and democracy, both need oversight, alternative points of view, diversity of experience, and occasionally a bright spotlight, to avoid both tunnel vision and corruption. Accordingly, I have supported Dan Carr’s candidacy as the lone challenger for the three School Board positions in the troubled Cedarburg School District that would otherwise be uncontested. I support Dan Carr, in spite of the fact that he and I apparently have different points of view on many issues.

I went to the well-attended Candidate’s Forum presented by volunteers from the Ozaukee League of Women Voters. Thank you, League volunteers and officers. Thank you for your years of service to the cause of good government.

I wholeheartedly agree that Dan Carr did very well, in the well executed LWV format, designed to be “fair and balanced” in normal circumstances, but which was, under the stacked circumstances of a slate of the Three Musketeer incumbents attacking the single “Lone Ranger” challenger, inherently difficult for the challenger, laboring under a three-to-one time disadvantage, and suffering his statements to be both preceded and followed by attackers. This was no fault of the League or its format. It was just a very uneven contest.

The choice the incumbents made to present a unified front does a disservice to, and disrespects, the community only slightly less than would an uncontested election. (If there were not a single challenger, there would have been NO public discussion and debate whatsoever of the problems of the past, and the problems facing us in the future.) Instead of examining and critiquing, before the electorate, the policies of the past, present, and future, the incumbents decided to take a purely defensive posture, and to attack their critics, as well as the lone candidate with the guts to challenge them.

If it wasn’t for Dan Carr’s courageous candidacy, the community wouldn’t have seen the performances last night. And the incumbents all would have been quietly ushered back in, without a breath of fresh air or a moment of community reflection.

Buehler’s dismissive “Well, I know all seven wives” remark (in response to a question that asked how a school board comprised exclusively of male businessmen will ensure that the community as a whole will be represented) was classic sexist. He even used the Candidates Forum itself to spread rumor and innuendo at several junctures. Buehler self-righteously proclaimed “I’m as open as anyone can be”, immediately after declaring that he REFUSED TO READ an article criticizing the Cedarburg school district simply because he disdained the title placed on the article by the editor of the publication. What an example to set for students. He didn’t have to read it. He assumed it was critical of the School District, and therefore not worthy of his attention.
Cedarburg School Board incumbent number 1.

McComis took full (unconscious?) advantage of his position in the order of speaking (which immediately followed the lone challenger) to act like a disgusting playground bully who reached far to take gratuitous low-blow swipes at the one challenger standing up against his gang. Cedarburg School Board incumbent number 2.

Pendergast has, in the last few days, shown a side I had not seen before. And his conduct and dirty politics has been the most reprehensible of the Three Musketeers. One thing the audience DIDN”T see, was that beforehand, he sought to intimidate, isolate, and dissuade an octogenarian widow and member of the local League of Women Voters from her long standing volunteer participation in the community service work of organizing these candidate and issues forums. He did this because, somehow, he acquired information that she had months earlier allegedly contributed a small amount of money to the challenger’s campaign. (How did the School Board President come by this “intelligence”?) His allegation of her “public support” was wrong. His interpretation of League of Women Voters self-imposed rules was wrong. His public upbraiding of her was wrong. He is not even a member of the League. And he certainly did not object when the previous candidates forum, held in the high school, was presented and organized by a group, many members of which are clearly and publicly partisan supporters of his gang of three. Cedarburg School Board incumbent number 3. (The Ozaukee League was admirably restrained in its response, and never wavered in standing quietly by its member of long standing.)

Buehler repeatedly grimaced and shook his head “No”, for effect while the lone challenger was speaking.
Meanwhile, McComis leaned back, folded his arms sternly over his belly, and glared at the back of the challenger’s head.
Pendergast, nearing the end of the Q and A session, and during his concluding remarks, lost his cool, and was actually physically shaking nervously, visible to the audience. I’ll bet he had to take a shower when he got home. If he didn’t, I’d hate to be in the seat next to him during his (allegedly postponed) international flight the next morning.

The lone challenger, under obvious, unrelenting, gratuitous attack from all three incumbents, looked, by contrast, fit and completely professional. From start to finish, and throughout, he appeared to be, at once, completely relaxed and fully involved and intent. He was neither flustered nor distracted by continued attacks (often absurdly unfair) from all sides. He addressed all comments and attention to the community members listening in the audience. The one moment when he interjected a very brief factual correction to an appallingly inappropriate and personal false charge made by McComis, Carr’s point was well-delivered, and actually appreciated by the audience. Carr was entirely professional in demeanor, and quickly and effectively disposed of that hastily tossed, despicable, false, and rudely invasive rumor.

To the question, “How can we get over the differences between the teachers and the Board?”, Buehler opened cryptically and unhelpfully with, “I’ve got a simple answer … but I won’t say it.” He then brought out the old chestnut, “Labor unions have outlived their usefulness.” And finally, “I don’t distrust or disrespect anyone.”

McComis concluded his response to that question with the scurrilous, inappropriate, personally intrusive, and apparently even false “charge” that challenger Carr had supposedly been visited in his own home by a person from the Wisconsin Education Association. I found that to be a remarkable charge. Not whether such a personal visit had occurred. But remarkable that such a charge would even be made, and that an alleged visit would be twisted into an accusation of some kind of inappropriate behavior. Just who decides, in a “Town Without a Pity”, who is and is not an acceptable visitor in your own home? Who decides who you are and are not supposed to be seen talking with? Where and how did McComis acquire his “intelligence”? Has the School Board been keeping some kind of watch on challenger Carr’s home, or compiling rumors from informants? That was a remarkable charge. (By the way, Carr immediately and in unmistakable terms, denied the “accusation”, and left it at that.)

Some of the most telling replies came in response to the question, “What will you do to lead so that trust and respect can be renewed?”
McComis said he will continue doing what he’s been doing. “I’ll say the truth, even if you don’t like what I’m saying.”
Pendergast said he’d continue to wear a suit to Board meetings, and declared that “we’re open to everybody”.
Buehler asked for the question to be repeated, sighed heavily, and declared that he does School Board “as a hobby”.
Cedarburg School Board incumbents, numbers 1, 2, and 3.

Carr said he’ll work to reduce confrontation, and introduce conflict resolution methods.
The lone challenger.

The one disappointing moment came in the responses to the question about how the Board, comprised as it is, entirely of male business professionals, can represent the entire community and its diverse educational needs. Buehler opened with his infamous sexist chuckle (“Well, I know all seven wives”) and followed with his assurance that there were two women who applied for a vacancy on the Board, and allowed as how he’d like to see them apply again. (Now do you feel welcome, ladies?)

I hoped that the challenger would point out that the Board had not sought and selected a person to fill the remaining open term with a person who somewhat represented the outlook and philosophy of the Board member who had to resign for personal reasons. A choice like that would have respected the many members of the community who had elected that resigned board member.

I hoped that the challenger would stress that the incumbent Board had decided NOT to select either of the two well-qualified women who had applied for the vacancy. I wanted the challenger to say that he had publicly encouraged the community and the Board to appoint one of those women (which he had done). I wanted to hear someone say that, instead of the two well-qualified women, the incumbent Board had decided to appoint another male dittohead businessman with neither professional education credentials nor experience to the vacancy.

It was remarkable to hear the incumbents themselves actually brag that no one on the current School Board has any professional experience in the field of education. Would these businessmen staff the responsible policy making positions in a business they actually wanted to succeed with nothing but people with no experience in that field?

An excellent question was asked inquiring why litigation costs were so high in this particular district, and what makes those costs in the Cedarburg School District so much higher than all neighboring school districts and the statewide average.

Candidates were then asked to address their concluding remarks to the reasons they were running for office and what they hoped to accomplish.

Lone challenger Carr started by appealing that we heal our wounds. He proposed taking the Board and the District in “a new direction”, stop the confrontations, and “educate not litigate”.

McComis concluded by saying we’re better off today than we were before, but the job is not done. He stressed again that all three incumbents must be returned to the Board, and that Carr (a teacher and counselor) is affiliated with and represents the teachers union, and the Board needs to implement good business practices versus lack of union cooperation.

Board President Pendergast devoted his conclusion entirely to an ad hominem attack on Dan Carr, mocking him with the repeated sarcastic use of the phrase, “as he so proudly proclaims …” He wrapped up the LWV Forum by falsely and repeatedly implying an association between Carr and the dismissed science teacher who was allegedly caught looking at smutty pictures. (It is so hard to imagine any of the three incumbents ever leering at smutty pictures, after seeing their performance at the League of Women Voters Forum Wednesday. Don’t you find it so? We’ll have to ask each of them the next time we see them.)

Buehler wrapped it all up for the incumbents. He cited long contact with the school district. He complimented the parents for having such gracious, polite children, who have always been nice and respected him. And he made it unanimous in the incumbents concluding remarks by aiming a gratuitous slap at challenger Carr, who he associated with all the problems of the district.

I’m glad I was there. I learned by listening. May the best man win.

By the way, the math is clear. Under the circumstances of a slate of incumbents all supporting each other, and opposing a lone challenger, you can be sure that any voter choosing to support the slate will vote for all three, and not for Dan. Unfortunately, all persons who want Dan Carr on the Board, and vote for him, but cast a vote or two for ANY of the incumbents, will, despite their intentions, make it more difficult for Dan to secure any one of the contested seats.

Every single vote counts Tuesday.

I recommend you make your vote a single vote for challenger Dan Carr, the Lone Ranger.

Alternatively, you can cast three votes for the incumbent Three Musketeers.

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29 Comments »

  1. Thanks for your report of the forum. I am saddened by the lack of decorum and professionalism on the part of the incumbents. We should expect more from our elected officials.

    Comment by Allen R — March 30, 2007 @ 8:16 am | Reply

  2. Well written Clyde, and good advice to the voters. I’m glad that Dan has your support.

    However, I am curious to know some of the “many issues” on which you differ from Dan. Perhaps you can “Bullet Point” a few to me when you get time.

    Comment by Tom G — March 30, 2007 @ 9:40 am | Reply

  3. I retired from Cedarburg after 32 years of teaching. And now you know why. In the last few years Cedarburg has gone from one of the finest school districts in the state with one of the best teaching staffs. All that eroded when the present Superintendent was hired and when Pendergast came on board. One longs for the days of Kennedy, Compton, Janet Levi, and Charlie Kromback. Those were people of honor and distinction. Cedarburg and the people of Cedarburg deserve so much more than the mafia that is now there.

    Comment by Michael T — March 30, 2007 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  4. Thank you for your accurate perspective on the candidates forum. I totally agree with everything you have written so eloquently. However, my mind sees our incumbents as the three stooges rather than the three musketeers.

    Comment by Deb L — March 30, 2007 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

  5. Thanks for your description of the School Board voter forum. It was very helpful.

    Comment by Ken W — March 30, 2007 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  6. People thought your blog hit the nail on the head. Way to go!

    Comment by Marjie T — March 30, 2007 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  7. I think everyone in Cedarburg should read it because it is absolutely true.

    Comment by Phil V — March 30, 2007 @ 9:24 pm | Reply

  8. Well stated. Can I forward this to friends?

    Comment by Patti D — March 30, 2007 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  9. Thanks for the report.

    Comment by Carol R — March 30, 2007 @ 9:28 pm | Reply

  10. Wow Clyde, this was a great article. Thanks so much for saying it like it was. I was so frustrated with the ad they placed in the newspaper concerning Dan Carr the Union Man. How unfair.

    Comment by Vonna — March 30, 2007 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  11. Wow! What a summary! Thanks, Clyde.

    Comment by Dorothy B — March 30, 2007 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  12. I, too, was at last night’s LWV forum. I can only say that I agree with you wholeheartedly, especially concerning John Pendergast’s mean-spiritedness. His two-minute “summary” of why he is running for office was devoted fully to an ad hominem attack on Dan Carr. Pitiful!

    Why is it that only when running for School Board can one brag that they have never worked in the field and have all their expertise in a non-related sector? If I were trying to become a member of the Board of Directors of, let’s say, an electronics supply firm, and I “bragged” that I have never worked in the field, I’d be laughed out of the room.

    Comment by Tom T — March 30, 2007 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

  13. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Kevin M — March 30, 2007 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  14. The debate is over and I survived. What I hear from my best critic, … , is that it went well. We are only days away from completing our task. …

    Saturday will be the big flyer day. Anyone still interested can just show up at 9am and we will give you a route. Each route should take no more than 2hrs.

    Comment by Dan Carr — March 30, 2007 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

  15. Your … article was great. Thanks for the kind words about the League …

    Comment by Art P — March 31, 2007 @ 3:39 am | Reply

  16. I was also at the debate and have received the incumbents’ fliers and read their ads. Throughout this campaign the incumbents have consistently painted teachers as the enemy. I don’t see how they can ever repair that damage and establish a positive working relationship with the teachers. But, then again, I don’t imagine they really want to do so.

    Dan will have his work cut out for himself as the Lone Ranger on the Board.

    Comment by Michelle — March 31, 2007 @ 5:06 am | Reply

  17. The Decline of Cedarburg –
    Have any Cedarburg residents looked around lately. Cedarburg is slowly becoming the place not to live in Ozaukee County. You have a school district that is quickly becoming the worse in the State. Teachers leaving in droves, controversy abound, and the community being run by right wing Fascist’s that have Hiltler rolling in his grave, wishing he would have thought of that.

    Main street Cedarburg now has the fat assess of these lunatics proudly displayed in the picture windows of the newest work out place, a new tourist destination for people with a “out of shape” fetish.

    Meanwhile, the new shining star of Ozaukee county, Grafton, is luring a new Milwaukee Ale house to the shores of its river banks. Is Grafton quickly becoming the “new” Cedarburg? Just take a drive down the two main streets and you tell me? It will not be long till their school district displaces Cedarburg as the one to send your kids too.

    Cedarburg property values continue to stall and the real estate market continues to decline. Local government leadership does not exist, storefronts are vacant and red barn buildings are built to be the gateway into this deteriorating community A great symbol for a place that is becoming the new Hades of Ozaukee county.

    Buehler, Pendergast and McComis represent this downward spiral Cedarburg has been in the last 6 years. Residents just need to open their eyes and look around for the proof. They are the plague that has is slowly rotting Cedarburg to the core. They are disconnected and clueless to the problems that face the district and the community. The support the teachers but hate the union. Duh, the teachers are the union and the union is the teachers. If they lack the brains to understand that, how can we expect them to run the district.

    Open your eyes Cedarburg at this point in time anybody is better than the 3 stooges that have contributed to the decline of a once great community. Cedarburg is now the butt of jokes, its business district looks worse than some I have seen in downtown Baghdad. Just take a look around. A vote for the 3 stooges is a vote for the status quo. If you like this continual decline then you found your Curly, Moe, and Larry!

    Comment by TJ Finn — April 1, 2007 @ 10:54 am | Reply

  18. I am amazed at this totally biased report. How can we support a candidate who wants to pay off a teacher who had what you call smutty pictures but I call pornography on his school computer. The reason we have litigation is because of a Teachers Union who wants this man reinstated. That is unacceptable to many decent residents. It is the teachers union who is causing this problem not the school board.

    Comment by Jennifer D — April 3, 2007 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  19. The election is over and the community has once again spoken. Having been at the forum and heard first hand myself what was said by all candidates, I too find your summary of the event heavily biased and severly flawed. You are quick to criticize those candidates who raised questions concerning Mr. Carr’s history and yet found NO fault in Mr. Carr himself. Yet I know that there were statements made by Mr. Carr that were not true.

    But as I said, the election is over and the community has spoken. Now it is time for both Mr. Carr and his supporters to follow through on promises of cooperation and nonconfrontation made to the electorate at this event.

    1. I will be anxious to see the removal of Pat Connolly and the WEA from local CEA and District negotiations as has already occurred in Grafton.

    2. I will be anxious to see the spirit of cooperation and the demise of confrontation that Mr. Carr promised.

    3. I will be most happy to see the dramatic reduction in legal expenses that will result from the CEA and WEA no longer litigating Board decisions and will be most happy to support applying those savings to teacher’s salaries, especially for the talented new teachers that are coming to the District.

    4. I will be attending open contract negotiation sessions, as I believe will many of our teachers, so we can all judge first hand whether fair and equitable offers are being made by both parties and can promote consensus building that will eliminate the need for implementing the QEO in the future.

    Finally, let me also say that an arbitrator and Judge McCormack have now ruled that Bob Zellner did access pornography (over 1500 images which Zellner continues to fight the release of through the courts) on his school computer. We are beyond the point of calling the situation “alleged” regardless of which legal decision you support. Most recently, Judge McCormack has found Zellner’s actions to be a serious violation of his obligations to the District and our children and the board’s action to dimiss him warranted. I believe all stakeholder, school board, administration, teachers, students, electorate, if able to step back from their differing views on other matters, do not want this man back in the classroom educating and developing the moral fabric of our most precious assets, our children.

    Comment by Jack K — April 4, 2007 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  20. Cedarburg Has Risen!

    Fortunately, the citizens of Cedarburg have more clarity than Mr. Winter’s teachercentric view of reality. Hopefully, the rank and file of the teachers union will take this mandate to heart and oust the handful of bullys who have highjacked their future.

    Maybe they will see past the nonsense, cut ties with the pornographer who wants to get back in front of our kids, and have a factual based conversation about the bloated health insurance plan their leaders are shoving down their throats (only to further feed the monster), take the savings home to their families, and get back to the business of TEACHING OUR KIDS!

    Comment by Fred B. — April 4, 2007 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

  21. Thank you, Clyde, for saying it best yourself. “May the best man win.” It is good to know you were open to listening to an informed community’s choices and that you encouraged them to exercise their right to vote.

    And vote they did.

    Comment by Jody K — April 5, 2007 @ 12:34 am | Reply

  22. I have an idea for Cedarburg, why dont you …. ya da ya da

    Comment by TJ Finn — April 5, 2007 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  23. I have an idea, too.

    I’m ashamed to say that someone who claims to agree with my point of view has submitted several comments that have caused me to make an exception to my intent to not censor comments due to content.

    If a person supplies an invalid email address to make a comment, I will not approve their comment for posting. Especially if that person, for whatever reason, is anonymously and dangerously trying to provoke hatred, anger, and resentment. That person should start their own blog. Or better than that, perhaps the person should consider more carefully what they are saying and trying to do.

    This is neither a chat room, nor a bar room, waiting for someone hiding in the shadows to throw something and start a brawl and then cowardly slip away. This is a library room, and I’m the librarian here.

    Comment by clyde winter — April 5, 2007 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  24. Aside from all of the other issues and opinions that affected people’s voting during the election, examine just one of them; the Bob Zellner case. The Union mantra says ‘band together to protect our brother’, and many teachers showed up at the early disciplinary meetings wearing buttons that read ‘Bob’ to show their support for Bob. While the teachers wore the buttons, secretly they were horrified that he viewed these images at school or anywhere else, yet they were afraid to speak out for fear of union management and peer retaliation. Secretly, they were timid around Bob and they wondered what he was really like. Secretly, they hid behind those buttons and began to wonder if Bob’s actions were similar to the stories on the news about On-line predators and sexual deviants. Secretly, they wondered if the girls of Cedarburg High would ever be safe around Bob in the future.

    Fortunately for us, Pendergast, McComis and Buehler didn’t have the luxury of hiding behind anything. They were forced to make the tough choice, dismiss a very popular teacher and face ridicule as a result. True, there was quite a bit of money spent in legal fees to defend this position and it appears more will be spent. However, when the money is spent defending morality and ensuring the safety of even one student, then the money is well spent and you won’t hear me complaining about my property taxes.

    As the appeal process drags on and you are undecided about the fairness of the board’s decision and the fate of this former teacher, I ask you to consider this. If Mr. Zellner were to apply for a teaching position in Grafton, Port Washington, Northern Ozaukee or Mequon, do you think they would hire him? Not a chance. If they deem him too much of a risk to take a chance, why should we be stuck with this safety concern in our school?

    More tough decisions will confront these men of the board in the coming months and years. I have the utmost confidence that these board members will make the correct decisions, how ever tough and controversial they may be.

    Comment by Tom W. — April 5, 2007 @ 10:48 pm | Reply

  25. Thank you for your observations, Clyde. This school board election has certainly shown Cedarburg in all its glory! I hope that the citizens of Cedarburg have learned the value of keeping their eyes open and getting involved in their public schools. Apathy is the enemy here because it causes people to relinquish all decisions to others. It’s a fact that most monthly school board meetings are attended only by a handful of people unless there is a big issue under discussion. The truth is that important decisions are made at every meeting, and all citizens need to understand them. As for what’s happening inside the walls of our schools, talk to your veteran teachers and you’ll find a depth of hurt unprecedented in this district. How can they be healed? If experience is truly the best teacher, then what have our new teachers learned from this community? While there are likely hundreds of people who appreciate the job our teachers are doing every day in such a changing world, they say little. Instead a small number of people with loud voices and large agendas have done all the speaking. It’s time to turn things around. I PRAY that God bring healing to this community and give ALL of us a genuine, heartfelt, sincere desire to dialogue and put forth a lot of hard work. It’s time to step in and get our hands dirty to rebuild.

    Comment by Bonnie T — April 6, 2007 @ 12:22 am | Reply

  26. The demise of Cedarburg Public Schools and the city of Cedarburg happened long before 2000. The demise started when the current superintendent was hired. Then came the school board and that was like the frosting on the cake. The demise is not the fault of the teachers, the teacher’s union or the WEA. All 432 school districts in the State of Wisconsin have teachers, teacher’s unions and the WEA and not all of those districts are in a free-fall decline like Cedarburg is and has been for years. So the logical place to put the blame for the demise is with the school board and superintendent who by their own admission say they know nothing about education. They are the only thing that separates Cedarburg from the other 431 school districts.

    There seems to be enough hate and mistrust going around a once proud community and to blame that on the teachers, union, and WEA is simply wrong. Teacher teach, they don’t hate, unions represent they do not hate and the WEA makes sure the teacher’s contract is upheld. The WEA, the CEA, and the NEA have been representing teachers for some 50 years and if history is really the best teacher, history shows that the teachers, the teacher’s union and the WEA have gotten along and gotten along well with Cedarburg’s superintendents and school boards in the past. Just look at the relationship between the teachers, their union and the WEA under the previous superintendent Gary Compton. There was no hate, no mistrust and the district was considered one of the top districts in the state. And now the district is the butt of jokes, seasoned and good teachers are jumping ship, and the morale of those teachers left behind is at an all time low. Reason: IT’S THE SUPERINTENDENT AND SCHOOL BOARD STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Michael T — April 6, 2007 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  27. … the high testing the School Board takes credit for was produced by the many teachers who quickly retired.

    Comment by Jane — April 12, 2007 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

  28. Let me just be blunt and say that Jack A is an idiot. The 1500 images on Mr. Zellner’s computer could not be authenticated because most of them had no times or dates. Also, Mr. Zellner has never been accused of going to any pornographic site. Type in the planet Venus or the hair color blonde and you will get hundreds of images that you may not even see if you just view the first page. People like you and the three members of the Board mentioned in this article are what most people like to call, the slim of humanity. For 11 years Mr. Zellner taught in your community without incident and from all indications did it very well and was universally liked by the students and faculty. If this isn’t enough for you Jack, just take a look at Bob’s 18 year old son. He is an honor student, varsity athlete in three sports, an Eagle Scout, a church volunteer, and was elected prom King. Bob achieved exactly the same things while he was in High School. I wonder if you can say the same thing about Pendergast son. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So, why is it that some members of the Cedarburg community have been so harsh on Bob and yet others who broke the same computer policy either got off with a warning or a slap on the wrist. Judge McCormick had no business making any decision based on the 1500 images, because they were not part of the original facts of termination brought against Bob. Nor does he have the right to say what is moral or immoral, just what is legal or illegal. Since the mutual agreed upon independent federal arbitrator ruled in binding arbitration that Bob should get his job back, then Bob should get his job back. What Bob did was not a crime, if anything it was a minor infraction of a work rule. Usually someone is warned if they are doing something wrong, told to stop or given a written reprimand. In this case, Bob was given no warning, just special monitoring software placed on his computer by an over zealous Superintendent that only uncovered a 67 second google search of the hair color blonde on a weekend. I think the 85% of the Cedarburg residents that are fair minded, should wake up before curly, moe and larry, along with heil Herrick destroy your school district. Who will they fire next, the school nurse or the Sex Ed teacher.

    Comment by Bruce — May 31, 2008 @ 12:44 am | Reply

  29. After being increasingly disappointed in the lauded Cedarburg School District over the past three years of our child’s attendance (and wondering if it was “just us”), I’ve started researching what is truly going on here. I’ve stumbled across a lot of interesting background information, and done a deep dive on Bob Zellner’s case.

    Consistently, I’ve been dismayed in how the school board, superintendent and (in some cases) the school district administration have acted during the time we’ve been here. I sat out the last election because we were so new in the district I didn’t feel qualified to vote. You can bet I’ll be voting in this year’s election. These incompetents need to be thrown out on their ears. And in one or two cases (harruumph-herrick-ahem!), hanging might not be good enough.

    From where we were living when the Zellner case broke I was completely with what the board seemed to be doing–protecting children against a potential predator. Now that my wife and I have broken the surface of the Journal Sentinel’s spoon-fed coverage we’ve discovered the ugly truth. We’re now increasingly of the view that Zellner was publicly garroted by the superintendent with the gutless backing of a board that was afraid to be associated in any way with even the mention of the “p” word.

    Knowing what I know about computers (it’s my business) I can easily imagine 1500 or more distasteful images in the browser cache of a man who simply ran an innocuous query or two to see what his students might encounter when working on assignments. But I can’t easily imagine why CSD didn’t install filtering software and follow the best practices that virtually every business, hospital and coffee shop have implemented to filter such easily filtered content. Clearly it wasn’t that they weren’t aware or they wouldn’t have installed monitoring software on Zellner’s PC. Clearly it wasn’t that they didn’t have the money–they spent over a quarter of a million dollars firing a teacher over porn rather than a few thousand preventing the porn from entering the district in the first place.

    Thanks for this blog, Clyde. I’ll keep reading and hoping district citizens regain the reins of the district. It’s only our kids’ education that’s at stake!

    J

    Comment by J H — February 15, 2010 @ 2:33 am | Reply


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