Letter: Nevis School Board needs to clarify issue
The Nevis School superintendent, Mr. Steve Rassier, was driving a school vehicle in southern Minnesota. A young man sees it, realizes it's out of the ordinary, photographs it and sends the information to the Nevis School Board.
A few days later, Betsy Anderson, employee of the district and mother of the young man, is asked by Steve and Mr. Ed Becker, school board chairman, to respond to some questions. Betsy agrees only if she can have her lawyer present. Steve tells Betsy to turn in her keys and leave the premises with a charge of insubordination. Betsy believes she's fired.
The board schedules a special meeting for Sept. 8 to consider a personnel issue. At the meeting, it is revealed by the school's attorney that an agreement has been reached and Betsy is terminated. Later, the Park Rapids Enterprise prints contents of the agreement which includes a resignation by Betsy, a monetary settlement of $5,339 and a muzzle provision for all parties involved plus a requirement that Betsy return to the school all school documents she may have at home and not to sue the district.
Steve says he has had approval for personal use of the vehicle. The board members and Steve have stated there is no connection between the use of the vehicle and Betsy's resignation.
The whole situation, including timing, judgment and possibly diversion, raises several questions, namely why did Steve and Ed want to talk to Betsy right after the vehicle use became public, why did Betsy have a lawyer and not want to talk without him present, why was the "on leave" changed to a resignation, if Betsy resigned, why was she given severance pay, why the muzzle requirement and for whose benefit, why the requirement Betsy return all school documents, why did Betsy promise not to sue, and who gave permission for personal use of the vehicle.
In my opinion, the board has a duty to clarify the issue to the district residents, but with the muzzle provision they don't have to.
Betsy resigned from the school board several years ago to assume the school office job to straighten out a problem. Reports are she did and continued to do a satisfactory job. I suggest she be given her previous board position back by writing her name, Betsy Anderson, on the upcoming election ballot as a school board member.