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Birkeland: Appoint Brenda Como to Frazee-Vergas School Board

I believe that it was at the May 11 meeting that Kathryn Kallis resigned from the Frazee-Vergas School Board.

Here we are, almost two months later, and no one has been appointed to fill the vacant position.

So I can't help but ask: "Why?"

It would have seemed appropriate to me if the board chairperson would have asked the school board members that very night if they wanted to consider someone who had filed and ran for the school board just a few months ago.

This never happened!

Why? Rumor has it that the chairperson, Dana Laine, has asked just about every living person who has served on the board in the past if they would come back -- and she has been turned down every time.

Some people have reportedly turned her down as many as three times. What has happened to old-fashioned democracy where the will of the people is taken into consideration?

There were 11 citizens who ran for the school board, with three being elected. The No. 4 vote-getter was Brenda Como, so if enough citizens thought that she was good enough for the No. 4 position, then why didn't the chairperson and the rest of the board members see fit to offer the position to her?

It will be said that Como never contacted any board member and asked to be put on the board. My question is this: Why should she have to beg for a position when 908 voters in an open election said that they wanted her?

    Let's do some simple math!

Laine, as an incumbent, was beaten by 890 votes by a newcomer to the board. She was also beaten by the second-place finisher by 393 votes. Then she was only able to best another newcomer, Como, by 106 votes.

This doesn't sound like a resounding endorsement of Laine by the citizens of the Frazee-Vergas School District.

Couple this with the fact that there were seven other candidates running for the board and these seven candidates garnered 3,656 votes.

What if those seven people hadn't been running, and those votes had been cast instead for the four frontrunners?

Would the same people still have been elected?

Unfortunately we will never know! So this is what gives rise to my question, why not put Como on the board?

     I believe I know the reason and the reason is appalling! I attended all of the "meet the candidates" meetings last fall, and during the question-and-answer session, it was quite clear to me that Como would not stand still for the dictatorial style of the chairperson when it comes to school business.

In the past few months Laine has been openly critical of board member Steve Jepson for asking questions and seeking information without clearing it with her first.

She has also said the she is Jepson's mentor and that Jepson should not be going off making inquires on his own. I will remind you again of the vote discrepancy, 890 votes. Maybe Jepson should be her mentor!

     So now I come to the end of a long harangue, and nothing will change.

Laine and her allies will place someone on the school board who they think they can control, and life will go on as it is supposed to if you live in the Frazee-Vergas School District.

Once again, democracy will be ground into the dust and I would imagine it isn't too far down the road when we will have a flag burning! I can hardly wait!