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Vacancy proving hard to fill PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 24 June 2015 21:52

NOSD drop plans to weigh merits of applicants during closed session

For all of its flaws, the democratic process appears to be a much more efficient system to fill elected positions than leaving it up to a governmental body.

That is the lesson the Northern Ozaukee School Board has learned, after deciding last week on a plan of attack to fill a vacant board seat representing the Village of Fredonia.

There were no declared candidates for the board post in the April election, after incumbent Steve Baumeister chose not to seek re-election. The
top write-in candidate declined the appointment.

That spurred the district to advertise the vacancy, drawing a response from three residents.

A selection is expected at the board’s July meeting, but not until the board’s Personnel Committee develops a list of five to seven questions that each potential appointee will be asked.

That plan to delegate the questioning to a committee drew criticism from board member Tom Hoffmann.

“Historically, this board has handled these kinds of things as a committee of the whole. I want the process to be more fully inclusive of the entire board,” Hoffmann said.

As a compromise, board members were invited to submit prepared questions to the committee prior to the interviews.

During the board interview, each candidate will have 15 minutes to respond to questions and offer viewpoints.

Following the interviews, the board tentatively scheduled a closed session to consider “financial, medical, social or personal histories” of the
candidates, and to conduct deliberations prior to making a selection.

However, that plan was in flux after district officials were advised by Ozaukee Press that the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law requires that appointments to elected offices be handled in open session.

The closed session exemption in the state law that allows confidential review of background information of prospective employees does not extend to the consideration of potential board members.

After learning of the meeting law conflict, Supt. Blake Peuse said the district will adjust its approach to filling the vacancy.

“We are fully invested in maintaining a transparent process and will have all discussion and deliberation during open session in July,” Peuse said.

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