The new superintendent’s contract between Bill Gillhaus and the current USD 231 board of education poses more questions than answers. It’s not exactly riveting reading, but it should be a must-read for taxpayers who foot the bill in the district.
Ostensibly written to take advantage of a state statute that defines KPER’s (public pension) contributions, at first glance the document seems routine; after a two month “retirement” Gilhaus is rehired by the district at a lower base salary, and the contract is extended thru 2016.
But as with many contracts, the devil is in the details.
Although Gilhaus’ base salary does decrease for now, it’s only as long as the current statute is not repealed or amended; Gilhaus keeps his $34,000 annuity; $800 per month automobile allowance; health insurance difference allowance; 60 plus 12 vacation and 20 days sick leave. A $100 per month mobile phone allowance was added along with several sections including post-termination benefits.
The document also seems to stray from a simple employment agreement into policy when the current board, with three outgoing members, hamstrings newly elected officials who will take seat in July.
Effectively, it allows Gilhaus to refuse information requests from elected officials by notifying the BOE in closed-door session. This could render the voters’ representatives ineffective, and because the decision was made behind closed doors, the taxpayers would never know.
For shame on the current BOE for setting themselves up as kingmakers and allowing this travesty that circumvents our very democratic process.
While we have veterans fighting for our freedoms, we have a BOE that signs our democratic process away with nary a thought.
The contract also has a clause that holds Gilhaus harmless for any decisions made, and another clause that regards conviction of a crime involving fraud or moral turpitude and how long the district must continue making contributions to his account.
While we’re certainly not the $250 per hour law firm the BOE employs to ostensibly protect the taxpayers’ interests; we all the know scent of a skunk when we smell it.
The complete contract is here.