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Proviso Probe

Monday, August 14, 2006

Does the integrity of the Bickert Group matter in the selection of District 209’s new superintendent?

Here’s a scenario: what if school board president Chris Welch is trying to manipulate the process to get Robert Libka, the current CEO, installed as superintendent. The board has already determined Libka is not the best candidate. However, Welch may still be able to install Libka by default.

Tonight the board is scheduled to pick from the final two candidates. One of the candidates has extensive experience as a superintendent in multiple states. One is a local superintendent.

In his first interview the local superintendent said that he has three years remaining on his current contract. He makes more money than District 209 is offering and won’t take a pay cut. Since then this candidate has produced a letter saying he is free to break his current contract.

Why is did the Bickert Group forward a candidate that doesn’t seem to be available? Why hasn’t the board rejected him?

Perhaps Welch figured that he couldn’t sell Libka over more qualified candidates. Welch may be planning to offer the superintendent position to this local candidate for the purpose of clearing the field while this candidate considers the offer. The stronger candidates would accept other positions and then this local candidate would decline the offer to be superintendent at District 209. Who would be available, but Bob Libka?

Why would Welch want Libka? Libka is weak and easy to work around. Libka will allow the politicians to continue to get their fingers in the hiring and contract process. Libka has a very limited education agenda. To the extent he has an education agenda he won’t make it conflict with the political shenanigans.

If the Bickert Group is consciously working to advance an underhanded agenda of the board president then it seems reasonable to question whether the Bickert Group is fulfilling its contractual obligations. It works for the whole board, not the president or the majority, right?

To make it clear, Eugene Moore (Cook County Recorder of Deeds and former Democratic Committeeman) and Ron Serpico (Melrose Park village president) remain the political bosses behind Welch. Moore continues to attend school board meetings. Board member Sue Henry is Moore’s chief of staff. Serpico and people connected to Serpico provided much of the money for Welch’s challenge to State Representative Karen Yarbrough in the Democratic Primary. Board member Dan Adams was determined to have been controlled by Serpico in the improper firing case of Trombetta vs. District 209.

Also, board member Dr. Charles Flowers encouraged taxpayers and parents to attend tonight’s meeting (8 PM) at PMSA (Roosevelt and First) to put pressure on the board to hire the most qualified candidate.


  • That was right on point!

    By Anonymous The plot thickens!, at 10:26 AM, August 14, 2006  

  • Here's a rumor. Take it for what it's worth.

    Board member Sue Henry works for Eugene Moore, the former Dem Committeeman.

    Moore is loyal to Rev. Claude Porter. Porter supposedly wants Libka as superintendent. That's why Porter sent Rev. Saffo to make the case for Libka at the last board meeting.

    Welch is having trouble getting four votes for either of his preferred candidates Libka or the local superintendent. Henry won't vote for the non-Libka candidate. Shirley Madlock is reluctant to vote for Libka.

    But Welch and his bosses may not have engaged in serious armtwisting on the theory that if the process drags out, Libka gets the job by default.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 2:28 PM, August 14, 2006  

  • Also, Sue Henry's daughter works under Bob Libka.

    Sue Henry is afraid that if Libka doesn’t get voted in as the new superintendent then her daughter may be out of a job.

    Sue Henry is clearly and selfishly voting for the best interest of herself and her daughter and not the best interest of the community in which she was elected to serve.

    Rumor has it that the local candidate has ties to the District 209 Business Manager (Nikita Johnson).

    By Anonymous It gets better, at 2:49 PM, August 14, 2006  

  • Carl:

    Hell yeah, the credibility of the Birkett Group matters. That's the whole point in hiring them to conduct the frickin search.

    The whole process is tainted now. Here you have a member of the group that's administering the nation-wide head hunting seeking the job himself. C'mon, that dog don't hunt.

    By Anonymous don't need this crap, at 3:23 PM, August 14, 2006  

  • In fairness to the Bickert Group, Dick Cheney led the search process for George W. Bush selecting a VP candidate.

    Surely, you wouldn't impugn the honor of the Vice President?

    But seriously, the issue with King is relatively minor in my mind, if the Bickert Group is actively promoting candidates it knows can't or won't take the job for the purpose of giving the job to a particular candidate by default.

    This is exceedingly underhanded.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 3:35 PM, August 14, 2006  

  • For the record,

    Many spoke out and ridiculed V.P. Cheney when the committee he led presented his name as the recommended running mate to Prez. Bush.

    Secondly, the issue with King is no minor point to members of his community (take your pick, Oak Park or South burbs), members of Broadview Baptist Church, and concerned stakeholders of Proviso Township High Schools. As a public figure and clergyman, his integrity is of the most importance. Carl, you're a reporter and maybe ethics and morality are minor characteristics on your list. But it should matter to people who may have to listen to him in a pulpit or wonder if any policies he supports in their town may have a negative effect on them while it may be financially beneficial to him. A lot of public figures fall short of what they purport themselves to be, but not all of them are men of the cloth as well. We, as a society, have to uphold some semblance of standards to so called community leaders.

    By Anonymous Ms. T.C., at 4:30 PM, August 14, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Steven, at 7:34 AM, August 15, 2006  

  • I attended the District 209 bored meeting last night, along with about 19 other people who decided that it was more important to be there than at Oakbrook Mall or staying home and watching reality television --- that it was more important and real to be part of a process that would affect the quality of education of their children.

    No wonder certain bored members can easily have their sway. Only one attendee, the Chairman of the Social Studies Department at Proviso West, spoke up. He spoke up in favor of Dr. Libka, in what struck me as a rambling and excruciatingly redundant release of hot air, spouting the usual “good character” stuff as if Dr. Libka was on trial for his life and should be spared the death penalty. Of course, he offered not one shred of objective and/or demonstrable evidence substantiating that Dr. Libka had done anything worthy of the potential appointment. But, no one rebutted or countered his statements. And, no, I didn’t either because, naïve as I am, I wasn’t privy to the process of having to sign up to speak before the bored meeting convened. I won’t repeat my mistake.

    I’m sure most of you are familiar with the phrase, “You’re going to keep on getting what you’re getting as long you keep on doing what you’re doing”. If you don’t like what you and your children are getting from District 209, you might want to start by doing something differently like attending bored meetings and help to turn them into board meetings where a well-represented sample of the people of Proviso Township speak their minds.

    By Blogger Steven, at 8:23 AM, August 15, 2006  

  • unfortunately...and as expected, the most qualified candidate was not selected.

    Business as usual. Looks like Sue Henry's daughter will keep her job afterall...at least for now.

    Where did we get these people from?

    By Anonymous Never-ending scandal, at 9:40 AM, August 15, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:19 PM, August 15, 2006  

  • I delete comments under anonymous because if there are more than one anon in a discussion it gets confusing. Use a pseudonym.

    However, it does seem this rule also allows me to delete some of the more low class comments.

    Here's a tip on insulting people. If you include substance in the insult it gives the insult some heft.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 9:06 AM, August 16, 2006  

  • Pamela says: Well, I guess Proviso has a new superintendent and guss what, It's neither of the guys mentioned on the blog!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:02 PM, August 16, 2006  

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