To our friends in Lincoln County- Previous and New.
Thank you for all your love and friendship to Jerry and me. Thank you to the staff at the Caliente Hospital. You did an amazing job. Also thanks to the “crew” on Flight For Life.
All of you are special in my heart.
It’s just my opinion, but….
After attending the portion of the latest school board meeting on Nov. 9, I was left with a few unfortunate conclusions. Full disclosure, I was there to see and hear the statements from Mr. Ken Higbee’s legal counsel, Mr. Lanny Waite, concerning allowing his forced leave of absence to continue with/without pay. Knowing the Mr. Higbee personally, and having somewhat of an understanding of the issues, I was hoping that, even if it is a financial difficulty for the district in the short term, Mr. Higbee’s source of income (albeit stripped down to bare-white-bone) would be allowed to continue until conclusion of the upcoming court hearing.
Mr. Poulson, after sharing a personal experience, explained why he would motion and vote to allow suspension with pay. Ms. Peggy Rowe, had exited prior to the issue citing advice of her legal counsel, and recused herself.
–Side thought – perhaps if she has an issue from days when she worked under/with Mr. Higbee she should have recused herself from any and all issues concerning him from the time she began to be on the School Board. It’s way to convenient to serve on a board in any small county/community, and make decisions affecting the life of a person that you may have ill, negative or harsh feelings toward. But, eventually you reap what you sow.–
Mr. Pat Kelly offered for comment that the district is financially in a hard spot right now (paraphrasing) but, if Mr. Higbee is found innocent then back wages will be paid.
–Side thought: If the district is strapped for funds now, as it usually is, then where is that money for back pay going to come from? Perhaps there is a windfall coming that wasn’t discussed. Anything is possible–
The vote was 3-1 in favor of supporting the superintendent’s decision to continue suspension but without pay.
Is the superintendent legally allowed to do this? Yes. But just because it is legal, does it make it the wisest choice?
Mr. Lanny Waite, is from Moapa Valley,since way before Moapa was the size it is now. He knows first hand how small counties and communities function. Mr. Wait laid out in a very clear, concise manner examples of how, in small districts/areas things are accomplished for the benefit of the whole by long established and generally accepted bookkeeping and record keeping habits. If one entity has a surplus, and another entity needs some help, it is shared. He cited documented examples from the terms of superintendents Holton and Hansen where this creative sharing has occurred. Often, it occurred simply because “that’s just how it’s done”.
Obviously, the buck and process that has been going on for years, stops now with Mr. Higbee. Questions arise: Why now? Why has Mr. Higbee never been allowed to answer to accusations, BEFORE they were sent up the chain. If this practice of sharing resources has been going on for years, as it has, where do you draw the line? If it’s wrong for one administrator, well isn’t wrong for all the prior ones too? Again, why now?
It was my perception, that Mr. Waite’s presentation to the board explaining the widespread use of the same accounting-type practices was a shot across the bow. It was a glimpse into how ugly this can get for many more people because it involves so many more people. Mr. Waite was offering a type of olive branch or symbol of a truce. What he got, what Mr. Higbee got, was a slap in the face.
So, when all is said and done, if/when Mr. Higbee is cleared of all charges, will a simple solution of giving him his back-pay be sufficient? His personal reputation, locally and nationally has been blackened and charred. His family has had to endure stress, humiliation and invasion like no one should experience. Is back pay, of his bare-white-boned salary, enough?
Mr. Higbee may have a choice to make. Proper legal, financial and emotional compensation will quite likely be his to have, in dollar amounts that this district and its insurance cannot cover. No extension of mercy, good faith or even good will was shown toward Mr. Higbee in this past meeting. Should Mr. Higbee be expected to show it in return? What a quandary….and it could/should have been avoided this last school board meeting.
From what I have been told, when a school district cannot pay its bills or goes bankrupt, the state comes in and runs the operations. They most likely clean house administratively. Perhaps this is what needs to be done. This situation seems to have stemmed from seeds of jealousy, get-even-ness, and pride. Those seeds have grown into nasty weeds. The saddest part is that the kids, all kids, of Lincoln County will be negatively affected. So sad.
But….that’s just my opinion.