TORKELSON'S COMP.-- $168,641
Salary -- $137,937; Benefits -- $30,704
(2nd highest paid of state's 424 administrators)
ACT AND DPI SCORES -- 16.6 & 61.9
(Lowest of 21 Northern WI schools)
MERCER $25,281
Wisconsin $12,842

National $10,667

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Mercer residents have learned not to believe much of what is written in the FYI Northwoods about the Mercer School Board and its administrator.  But the newspaper’s coverage of the June 26 meeting was just too much.
The FYI reported that the board gave Administrator Erik Torkelson a new base-rate salary of $113,500.   That part is true, although last year he actually took home $132,040 in cash and another $29,296 in benefits for a total of $161,336.   His contract provided for $98,000 in cash and about $15,000 in benefits.
But here’s the real kicker:  FYI said that his new salary was approved by a 4 to 1 vote, with Torkelson’s mother-in-law Kelly Kohegyi voting against the pay raise.  Now you don’t have to be a nuclear scientist to figure out that his mother-in-law would not vote against a pay raise for her son-in-law.
The FYI reporter compounds his use of “alternative facts” by further stating that voting for the salary increase were board members Christa Reinert, Micki Pierce-Holmstrom, Noel Brandt and Board President Deanna Pierpont.  Christa Reinert would NEVER agree to increase Torkelson’s salary because she and others are still waiting for an explanation of how Torkelson managed to scoop up the $161,336 without any apparent board approval.
Mother-in-law Kohegyi abstained from voting, which legally she was required to do.  So the vote was actually 3 to 1 with Christa Reinert voting a big NO.  (See MSF More $$$$$$ for Torkelson 6/27/71)
The FYI reporter went on to say that Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction figures show that Torkelson was paid $98,000 for the 2015-16 school year.  DPI records show his contracted salary, not what he actually took home. Any enterprising reporter would have asked for the school’s own records, and they would show the $162,232 booty.
Regular coverage of the monthly school board meetings contains nothing but praise for the administrator and the board, except when it gets an opportunity to criticize board member Christa Reinert, who was elected to clean up the school district mess – the mismanagement of school funds, a below-average composite ACT score, the showing of the sexually explicit movie “50 Shades of Grey” to young school girls, the conviction and fine for violating the public records law, the Iron County district’s attorney’s ruling that  the board violated the open meetings law, and on and on.
So much for the shoddy reporting by FYI Northwoods and its use of “alternative facts.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Evidently the people in Mercer have money to burn. They just seem to keep shelling it out and getting nothing in return.

Meanwhile Torkelson and his half-minded gang laugh all the way to the bank.