It Is Time To Make A Change In Lee's Summit

Former St. Joseph Superintendent To Pay Back $660,000 | KCUR

The following comments are those of Bill Baird.  He is fighting an uphill battle for us and we must join him and support him. It is not going to change until the citizens demand it.  The time is now. 

It is difficult to convey the incredible timing of this announcement as we face a pivotal moment in our LSR7 school district crisis. The attached article explains that yesterday in the largest settlement in the history of the Public Schools Retirement System (PSRS), the former superintendent of St Joseph will pay back $660,000 in retirement benefits he did not earn.

Our LSR7 President Terri Harmon and past Vice President Chris Storms brought forth a similar ill-structured contract for board approval that would have increased Dr. McGehee’s retirement benefits far greater than what the superintendent of St. Joe had devised. The proposed contract would have reallocated funds to his base salary in an attempt to abuse the PSRS. After retirement Dr. McGehee would have likely gone from collecting approximately $216,000 per year to approximately $286,000 per year (an increase of nearly $70,000 per year for the rest of his life for no extra work).

In a March closed session President Harmon stated that we were to be approve the contract with no changes to be made. Legal counsel was not present to advise the board. The contract was not given to board members to review ahead of time. I objected and demanded legal counsel and time to review the contract proposal. Once we received the contract proposal, I made the board aware of the unethical, immoral, and illegal nature of the request. Despite his unethical conduct and request, President Terri Harmon called for another closed session on short notice, this time altering the numbers in his contract and after getting legal counsel’s approval. I objected to the contract and to legal counsel’s partiality. The board approved the new contract which gave Dr. McGehee an additional year in a new 3-year contract.

I attempted to rescind this contract in the public meeting on April 14th, but lost my motion in a dramatic 4-3 vote. Currently, this contract is on his desk awaiting his signature. Details of the contract will not be released until 72 hours after he signs it. Furthermore, a closed session is scheduled for the school board on Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Public notice states the agenda items are Personnel Issues and Legal Issues.

Missouri’s Public School Retirement System is one of the best in the nation. It would go bankrupt if people like Dr. McGehee and board members like President Terri Harmon and past Vice President Chris Storms are allowed to get away with these actions. Public employees are governed by many rules, laws, and policies that do not apply in the business world for a CEO of a company. Members of the board of education have the responsibility to follow these laws and policies.

If you have an opinion on this…the time is now to voice your concerns.


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