Baraboo School Board censures ‘bully’ member

Board member Ed Mortimer accused of spreading false information, bullying
Baraboo School Board censures ‘bully’ member

The Baraboo School Board decided Monday to censure fellow board member Ed Mortimer, after a lengthy investigation determined he had committed a list of unwelcome acts.

The $15,000, five-month investigation, handled by Fennimore lawyer Eileen Brownlee, determined that Mortimer bullied district employees and spread false information to the public.

The board could have decided to request Mortimer be legally removed from the board, but stopped short of that outcome. The decision, which came after more than four hours in closed session, was issued without Mortimer’s involvement.

Mortimer, along with attorney Jim Schernecker, left the closed meeting after board members didn’t allow Schernecker to speak, the attorney said.

“(The board) concedes there’s no harassment. It’s idiocy,” Schernecker said. “You’re probably spending ($15,000) on this — that’s the taxpayers money. For what? Word games?”

Board members initially authorized Brownlee’s investigation in February, after they became concerned the district could be held liable for Mortimer’s harassment of “current and former employees,” board president Kevin Vodak told WISC-TV.

Baraboo School Board votes to censure board member

The investigation found Mortimer’s actions legally amounted to bullying, not harassment, Vodak said.

About 20 people showed up at the board meeting carrying signs, some reading “Thank you Mort.” The supporters said Mortimer was looking out for taxpayers.

“I am here tonight because he’s the one who tells us the truth,” supporter Teri Dornar said. “I think they’re trying to force him to resign, and I don’t think that’s acceptable.”

Board members said Mortimer’s actions go beyond being a good public servant.

“I think it’s important to have a watchdog,” board president Vodak said,” but he alienates people.”

To read the full investigative report, click here: http://www.baraboo.k12.wi.us/cms_files/resources/Board%20Member%20Investigation%20Report.pdf.

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