BENEFITS -- $30,704
TOTAL -- $168,641
CONTRACT -- $98,000
Increased to $113,500 for 2017-18

Saturday, June 24, 2017


Country Western music buffs will remember the tune “Behind Closed Doors” made popular by Charlie Rich in the l970s.  Well, the Mercer School Board has its own version, and it’s “played” at just about every monthly board meeting.
But, the May Board “closed session” was of particular interest because of an attempt to sneak through a pay increase for Administrator Erik Torkelson.  It doesn’t seem to matter that the $161,336 he somehow managed to take home last year made him the 11th highest paid of Wisconsin’s 424 administrators.  He apparently wants more, and School Board President Deanna Pierpont appears ready to give it to him.
So, what’s on the agenda again for this Monday night’s “closed session” of the School Board meeting?  ”Administration Contracts”, of course.
Torkelson’s present contract provides for an annual salary of $98,000, plus benefits of about $15,000.  We know that included in the $161,336 he took home was $6,602 in pay and $1,465 in benefits from Community Service Fund 80. That was allegedly for administering questionably existing projects.
The big mystery is where the other $40,270 that Torkelson took home came from.
But, back to the May “closed session.”  It’s difficult to find out what happens “behind those closed doors” because board members are prohibited from discussing it.  It’s not too difficult to imagine what happened.
Pierpont and Board member Micki Pierce-Holmstrom would probably vote for anything Torkelson wants.  After all, Pierce Holmstrom works for Torkelson in trying to sell his Manitowish Waters home. (A conflict of interest?)  Torkelson’s mother-in-law and board member Kelly Kohegyi was prohibited from being present because of the family relationship.
That leaves Noel Brandt and Christa Reinert who must be raising legitimate questions about why Torkelson needs more pay and benefits when he is already taking home an unexplained $40,270 of a total $161,336 package.
You’ll want to tune in to the Monday evening Mercer School Board version of “Behind Closed Doors”.   Oh, we forgot.  It’s a secret meeting so you won’t be able to hear it.


Anonymous said...

I heard that Pierpont has told people that she and the school board work for Torkelson, and not the other way around. Isn't he the employee?

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the school board found guilty for holding an illegal closed meeting involving the budget?

Mercerschoolfacts said...

Technically there was no guilty finding which would have had to been done in court. The board members should have been charged in a court acion. Instead, DA Marty Lipske made his own determination that the board violated the open meetings law. He lectured the members at a school board meeting and put the board on an informal “probation.”

Anonymous said...

I think we should give him a new contract, but cut his pay in half. This would represent fair compensation for the small school he administers and put him in the same class of administrators with similar limited skills.

Mercer teacher said...

50% would be just pay considering the time he actually spends at the school.

Ben Dover said...

Hey Torky!

Whatever happened to your great China education connection? It appears it was just another vacation for you at taxpayer expense...

I'd like to start a fund to pay for you to go to North Korea or Mars and share your "gold standard" of education.

Anonymous said...

Mercer teacher on June 25, 2017 at 11:26 AM

I agree with you. What can he possibly do all the time he is away from school.

All you taxpayers went to school, do you ever remember your school principal gone that often?


How many school functions do you see him at?

Very few.

WAKE UP MERCER SCHOOL BOARD! You are either asleep, or deaf, dumb, and blind.