The only person admitting guilt for anything in the GEAR UP scandal gets no substantial punishment and praise for his excellent public service. Former Mid-Central Educational Cooperative exec Dan Guericke, under whose supervision good Christian business manager and bully Scott Westerhuis made off with over a million dollars in federal grant money to enrich himself before burning up his estate and murdering his wife and his four children to escape earthly justice, will pay the state a $1,000 fine, $104 in court costs, and some fees for transcription services. And with suspended imposition of sentence, Guericke will spend no time behind bars and eventually see this matter wiped from his record…. because he’s just such a nice guy:
Judge Bruce Anderson said that Guericke’s was a case that “reeks of suspended imposition of sentence” and that, based on his perception of Guericke’s character and the outcome in the trials for the two other people charged in the GEAR UP case, it wouldn’t be fair to impose any substantial form of punishment. Anderson said that Guericke’s remorseful attitude in court led him to believe that Guericke had already punished himself enough.
“You seem to me to be a good man of good character and an excellent public servant,” Anderson said to Guericke.
Guericke’s wife, Jane Guericke, said at the sentencing hearing that her husband had never intended to commit a crime
“His main goal was always to serve the children of the district and their families,” she said. “… Because he is trustworthy, he tends to believe others are trustworthy” [Ellen Bardash, “Guericke Granted Suspended Imposition,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2018.11.26].
Attorney General Marty Jackley acknowledged Guericke’s assistance with the GEAR UP investigation, which managed to convict no one else. But expect no further investigation of wrongdoing:
“Today brings closure to what I would say the criminal proceedings, but doesn’t bring closure to what we as a state could do to avoid this in the future,” Jackley said Monday afternoon. “It needs to be looked at from an oversight standpoint in the legislature, and the executive branch” [Danielle Ferguson, “Former Mid-Central Director Sentenced to Pay Fine for Backdating GEAR UP Contracts,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2018.11.26].
And if you’re expecting action from the incoming Executive Branch, well, get in line: Governor-Elect Noem has two more kids and a husband to find state jobs for, first. Maybe once the Noem clan is squared away, Noem can hire Guricke to run the Department of Education, because, hey, this upstanding citizen had just one little lapse of judgment, backdating one little contract, without any idea of the massive fraud his staff was perpetrating against the taxpayers and the Native American students those tax dollars were intended to help. Anybody could make that mistake, right?