Welch & Johnson should come clean
NEW YORK - The American Red Cross ousted its president, Mark Everson, on Tuesday after learning that he had engaged in a "personal relationship" with a subordinate employee.
The woman was not identified, but I expect if she was the one in charge of the Red Cross' money that would have been part of the story.
When I asked Emanuel "Chris" Welch, president of Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) board of education if he was dating Nikita Johnson, who was then the business manager and has since been promoted, Welch responded with, "I don't discuss my personal life with the media."
It's time for the board of education and Superintendent Robert Libka to ask the question of both of them. "Are you two dating?"
District 209 is a district with a history of crony politics in both jobs and contracting. The FBI is investigating the district for something.
Five of the seven board members are quite passive, letting themselves be bossed by Welch and political boss Eugene Moore (Brian Cross and Reatha "Sue" Henry work for Moore at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds). One of the passive board members, Robin Foreman, is Johnson's aunt. Foreman has been pushing for D209 to hire Johnson for years, going back to when Foreman was active with the boosters.
On top of that the district the superintendent, Libka, is very much a "go along, get along" kinda guy who avoids confrontation.
Libka and the board need to ask Welch and Johnson what's the story. There are rumors they are engaged. And they have been dating since summer 2006.
If they are involved, one of them should resign to remove the conflict of interest. Remember, being a school board member is an unpaid position that is supposed to be about serving the community.
If the president of the Red Cross had to resign because of a relationship with a Red Cross employee, it seems like Welch should resign if he's involved with the person overseeing all the money at the district.
This is especially true since it's likely that there are serious questions about how Johnson spent some of the money.