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Frazee rescinds pay for negotiator

At its January meeting, the Frazee-Vergas School District set lead negotiator pay at $30 an hour with a four-hour cap. The March meeting brought an end to that.

School board member Rich Zeigler said Monday night that he wanted to "rescind my prior motion." Since the motion had passed in January, several members of the public have spoken out against the payment terms.

Members of the Frazee Education Association said $30 an hour was more than some of the teachers were making in the district.

Earlier this month, community member Matt Bauer spoke at the board meeting, saying lead negotiator Dwight Cook should return the money because the pay should not be retroactive.

Board member Nancy Dashner asked Zeigler why he wanted to rescind his motion, and Zeigler responded that after more time to think about it, "I don't think it was a good motion."

He said all the board members pick the committees they want to sit on, and "from this day forward, we will not pay the lead negotiator."

He added that whether or not there was a misunderstanding on retroactive pay, "it's not worth the fight." Whatever Cook wants to do about paying back the roughly $400 already paid out, Zeigler said is his own business.

Dashner said in her years on the board, this is the first time a board member has been a lead negotiator because the superintendent is usually in that position.

"Mr. Cook put in an extraordinary amount of time," she said. "I do not support Richard's motion."

She added that Cook deserves the pay.

Board chair Dana Laine said she talked to John Sylvester, Minnesota School Boards Association representative, and said it's not uncommon to request pay for extra work done by board members, but with the motion, it could tie the board's hands in the future, too.

With little discussion on the matter, the board unanimously passed the motion to rescind the originally motion and a lead negotiator will not be compensated in the future.