Looking for you chance to clean up corruption in South Dakota? Apply now to be the next director of the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative in Platte!
The MCEC website offers no job description, but I can lay out the basic parameters of the job for you. As MCEC exec, you will operate under intense media scrutiny as you try to help a small rural school cooperative restore its finances and reputation after the shocking murder-suicide of business manager Scott Westerhuis and assistant business manager Nicole Westerhuis last September and the resignation of interim business manager Stephanie Hubers in January. You’ll cobble together resources to maintain basic special education services shared among local rural school districts even as you slash staff made unsustainable by the Department of Education’s withdrawal of all state contracts by the end of this fiscal year. You’ll navigate the cooperative through a lawsuit against the Westerhuis estate for at least $2 million misappropriated by Scott Westerhuis, stirring anger among some locals who can’t believe that a good church and family man could commit such massive fraud, not to mention the murder of his wife and four children. You’ll also deal with whatever litigation may arise from ongoing state and federal investigations of the cooperative’s finances, including the mishandling of millions of federal GEAR UP dollars in what appears to have become an enormous unsupervised handout program for cronies in the state education bureaucracy.
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
I’m already doing my part to fight corruption and restore South Dakota’s good name by running for State Senate, so I’m out. Mid-Central doesn’t dare hire someone local—cleaning up malpractice of this scale requires someone from the outside unbeholden to local politics. The ideal exec also needs to be unbeholden to Secretary of Education Melody Schopp, former Secretary Rick Melmer, or anyone other current South Dakota education establishment figure: unraveling corruption at Mid-Central may also reveal corruption or incompetence at the state level, and the person at the helm in Platte can’t be worried about protecting friends in Pierre.
Yet the new Mid-Central exec needs experience with South Dakota’s complicated co-op structure. Mid-Central needs a director who can look at the books and immediately distinguish between minor errors, gross negligence, and signs of deliberate malfeasance with local school district dollars and state, federal, and private grant money.
Mid-Central needs a director with experience, intelligence, and integrity. If you’re up to that challenge, the job listing on the School Administrators of South Dakota website says you can address any questions about the job to MCEC board president Pamela Haukaas from Colome at 605-842-1448 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are due at PO Box 228, Platte, SD 57369, by March 25.