October 24, 2014

District communication closed as Gilhaus returns

Debbie Hickman
Guest Columnist
He’s  Baaaaaaack!
The start of September not only marked the initial slide into the fall season, but the return of contract employee superintendent Bill Gilhaus to USD 231.
The emperor has returned to reclaim his title.
He will  set any wayward subjects straight and prepare to do battle with the evil patrons who ask for transparency, financial accountability and the balance of wants versus needs of the district.  The doors of communication have been slammed shut, and the district appears to be back in lock-down mode.
In his absence, I experienced small, but important, break-throughs in communication with the district.  The communications director was actually allowed to communicate via phone and email; the interim superintendent walked among the patrons at board meetings, and board members actually initiated and engaged in conversations with same said patrons.
I can’t help but wonder who will be the Gilhaus sacrificial lamb — the person who must pay for this crime of communication and other sins against the empire over the past two months.  Who will serve as an example of what happens if you cross the BG red line?
Gilhaus announced his retirement at the May 6 board meeting, only to be rehired as a contract employee during that same meeting. This new contract was approved for a duration of two years and 10 months commencing Sept. 2. Following a sixty-day absence as an employee of the district, as required by the state’s pension program, Gilhaus returned to the job of superintendent.  He has become one of the two six-figure “double-dippers” the district employs, the other being Gary Diener, director of operations and finance.
In closing, if an emperor ever asks if you like his new clothes, I suggest you respond as you “see” it and not just roll with the crowd because it’s the safe thing to do.

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