repare yourself for another unsolicited/unpaid Between the Lines endorsement of sorts: Menards is such a cool store. A little bit of everything. I’m not typically the shopping type but I’ll sometimes go to Menards just to peruse odd stuff in what I refer to as the gadget aisle. I just did this on a recent weekend, using the excuse that I needed to buy a new American flag that we fly each day in front of The Landmark office. I ended up also buying two 99 cent sets of cool nail clippers, of all things. In the gadget aisle. At Menards. Believe it.
Try it sometime. All Menards stores seem to be laid out the same, so to find what I refer to as the gadget aisle simply look to your left as soon as you walk through the front turnstile. All kinds of fun stuff, inexpensive, that you may decide you need. Or at least want.
Hey, perhaps you’ve noticed the City of Parkville settled that open records lawsuit against the city that Jason Maki had been litigating while serving as his own legal representation. The settlement wasn’t just for a little bit, it was a record setting amount. The $195,000 settlement is believed to be the highest ever Sunshine settlement in state history. Meanwhile, the city says it admits no guilt. That sounds good, but after you’ve paid out a record $195,000 settlement to make a lawsuit go away, we don’t need you to admit guilt. I think that question has already been answered.
Also, Maki wants taxpayers to know he was willing to settle for much less than $195,000 if the city had agreed to pass an ordinance that would ban their use of personal emails to conduct city business. The city refused, opting instead to pay tens of thousands more to Maki in a settlement. Let’s be clear, that’s not $10,000 more. That’s tens of thousands more. Like say, perhaps, $30,000 more.
That gives you a look inside the minds of those making the decisions at Parkville. And it’s not pretty.
Oh, and the City of Parkville has paid $205,000 in its legal defense of the lawsuit. And that won’t be the final amount. There is still some time on the legal team’s clock that had not yet been billed and collected when that $205,000 figure was made public, so that number isn’t done growing.
So by the time it’s over, the city will have spent nearly half a million of Parkville taxpayer dollars rather than comply with the state’s open records/open meetings laws. Yikes. That’s both disturbing and embarrassing for the city.
Some city taxpayers might be willing to continue to turn a blind eye to misdeeds at Parkville City Hall, but just know someone is playing you for a fool.
And let’s not forget Parkville Mayor Nan Johnston has had–and continues to have–her own legal problems. And we’re not talking about the fact her DWI left her on probation. Johnston has already been found guilty of violating state ethics laws–and plea bargained away some others–and now is still in the middle of another investigation by the Missouri Ethics Commission.
The open records lawsuit is settled but Johnston’s ethics investigation is still ongoing. And there is some buzz about other potential legal questions in Nan’s future, so stay tuned.
As you read in The Landmark recently, Platte County R-3 School District Superintendent Mike Reik has announced he will retire after the 2021-22 school year.
But will he resurface at another school district? It has happened before with many others in the field of public education. Many have ‘retired’ in Missouri, start drawing a Missouri pension, then resurface at another full time job education job in Kansas, for instance.
In a phone conversation with me last week, Reik indicated that is not his plan.
“I’m going to retire from public education,” Reik said, though he did leave open the possibility that if an interim superintendent job came open he might entertain that thought. “I’m looking to turn the page.”
He explained that he has no immediate plans “but I will be doing something. I plan to work for as long as I’m able to,” saying he wants to find something that “keeps me busy and keeps my mind active.”
Reik acknowledged that his skill set would be attractive to someone “who works with public education,” which is different than working “in” public education. He believes there will be no shortage of opportunities. “Who knows when something materializes. For now, I’m retiring and I don’t know what that will be. For sure I’ll be focusing on my kids and family,” he said, including his sons Sayer, age 12, and Greyson, age 11. “Both are very active kids,” he added.
As for R-3, Reik said the superintendent opening should be a position that attracts a number of quality candidates. “I wanted to announce early so the board has time to find a new superintendent and I didn’t put them in a time crunch or diminish the pool of interested parties. It’s a good time right now. The district is in a strong financial position. Our tax base is strong and growing. Having passed the last bond issue, we have good things going on with capital projects. The next person will not be able to complain about the state of the district. The district is in a really strong situation,” he said.
What challenges will the next superintendent be inheriting?
“The next person will have be dealing with issues our entire state and country are struggling with. The pandemic isn’t over. We don’t know where the pandemic will be over a year from how but it will have to be a focus in some capacity. As well as the continued conversations around equity and inclusion,” Reik remarked.
(If you don’t find Ivan Foley in the office later this week you can always find him at email@example.com)