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OPINION: Whad’ya Know Greendale?

by | Feb 14, 2016 | 5 comments

I’m hearing that long-time Library Director Gary Warren Niebuhr is retiring or moving on. Gary has been a fixture in Greendale’s downtown for many years and he has been a strong advocate for adult services in libraries. Did you know he is an accomplished photographer, published author and a big fan of crime fiction? I wish Gary well on his next chapter.

I know that one of the worst kept secrets in town is that the Village is opening a historic welcome center on Broad Street. The Historical Society will be moving its office from the basement of the Library to share a corner of the space.

The Society will help staff the main street store front with volunteers and provide exhibits from Greendale’s history. According to the plan, the Village would provide paid staffing along with the volunteers. Stay tuned — soonish.

I learned that the low bidder on the new fire station came in at $5,109,000. Less the monies for the sale of the old station property to Sendik’s and putting that land on the tax rolls, it sounds like a pretty good deal. The fire department is prepping for a moving date of early March to the Safety Center. I’m hearing the Village is working hard to build temporary accommodations for firefighters and their equipment at the Safety Center. Sounds like great teamwork to me.

Over at the schools, the hunt for Greendale’s next superintendent continues. Between the search for John Tharp and his successor, the school board will have spent $40,000+ on search firms for the district’s superintendent in the last three years. Let’s hope they bring home a winner this time around.

People are asking me when the board will make a decision. According to their timeline, “they anticipate … selection” of the new superintendent by April.

The community forums with the finalists were lightly attended. School insiders and Village leaders tell me — if they had to pick —Dr. Gary Kiltz is the strongest candidate of the three. I learned that Kiltz grew up in Hales Corners — that might be enough to tilt the scales. Fun Fact: The Whitnall School District is looking for a superintendent too.

What isn’t known? Which Greendale candidates weren’t given a closer, second look by the board and will they settle because it is easier? Or, will they have the courage to keep looking for a better fit or bolder choice if they need to? Hey, Paul Strobel is doing a good job as our Interim.

I’ve also heard some audible grumbling about the search firm’s candidates not meeting expectations — given how much we’re paying. As one insider put it, “Another expensive CEO search and we end up with three candidates that would have applied if we posted a help wanted ad on Craigslist.”

Maybe.

A number of regional and high performing districts are by-passing the finder fee route, instead opting to quietly conduct superintendent searches using internal resources. Might be something to look into next time.

The person the board chooses will have a big leadership test right up front requiring some serious community building skills. The signs are there that the district has been quietly planning and gearing up for a referendum — mostly for facilities upgrades. The next superintendent will have to lead that charge.

Let’s hope the school board has moved on from last year’s $26 million Taj Mahal gymnasium ideas. However, I have heard complaints from some parents that our school sports facilities are simply not up to par.

The country is in the midst of a youth sports revolution with participation in youth sport at an all-time high. Greendale is feeling the pinch and tension over youth sports in the Village is high with competition for resources among youth sports groups, community organizations and citizens. Oh, and there’s a boatload of local politics mixed in it as well.

Speaking of Greendale politics, election season is edging closer. Lawn signs are being planted and the lines are being drawn in our local elections. Voters have questions about those in the race and many are asking me what I know about them and if I will be interviewing the candidates again this election cycle. I do plan to requesting an interview with each local candidate in the coming days for publication in Everything Greendale before election day. I will keep you posted.

Another way you can tell it is election season? The comment section on Everything Greendale is heating up again. I love the comments, but here’s a friendly reminder to keep it classy Greendale.

So, whad’ya know??

A Parting Gif…

dog

About The Author

Bill Attewell

Bill Attewell is the editor and publisher of Everything Greendale. He has over 20 years experience as an award-winning newspaper editor, writer and publisher. His work has been read in in over 50 publications across the U.S. and abroad. Bill is a long-time resident of Greendale and a Greendale High School alum. Go Panthers!

5 Comments

  1. Greg

    Looks like the favored candidate may have signed the Walker recall petition. Whadya know.

    Reply
    • Dinkfester

      The PEOPLE SPOKE LOUD AND CLEAR voting forCHRIS LARSON over CZAR ABLE in Tuesday’s

      Taking back Greendale PEOPLE. Hasbeens and power mongers checked in MIlwaukee and coming to our Village!!!

      Reply
  2. Sandy

    Congratulations Gary. Best of luck!

    Reply
  3. Community Radical

    As we have said in past posts. We backed the Board of Education through several blunders in the last 30 months. That has resulted in voting for anyone but the ones sitting in office. John C was the start of new blood on this board and we encourage him to keep pushing back on his fellow school board members. He is much better for the long terms than the rest

    We support the school administration and teachers. They have face weakness, adversity and a rocky Board of Education. We only wonder what they could accomplish with a steady Board of Education. New Board Members are what we need now. Lifetime Board Members are something to question. 30 years is a long time and we appreciate Dr. Slota’s time but it is past. He is over 65 years old.

    Very happy with the new Sendix coming in and the sale of the present Fire Station being used to off set the new building. That is what a good board administration group can do. Contrast that to the Greendale School District and the last 30 months.

    Reply
  4. John

    The new Fire Station and Sendix deal is a testament to the foresight of the Village and the track record of economic development by it’s administration and board.

    The Greendale School District has to make the right call on their next Administrator. The reputation of the district and our Village is at stake. Th School District is part of the formula for robust economic and social growth in our Village. They know the importance of their hiring of the next administration.

    The last three years have burned up good will and their reputation. Go back and start over if you don’t have the backing of your insiders. You made that mistake three years ago. By all reports from many sources the current administrator is better than anything we have seen so far in the last few years.

    What about this rumor referendum from the school district? A lack of information or silence from the school board members is not the way to win a vote by the people nor is kicking voting out of the schools . All you have to look at is how bad the Crocus Court apartment and parking lot development proposal went because of too much secrecy and bad communication.

    There is a primary vote on Tuesday and the polls are in the school buildings. Greendale, come out and vote. You will be safe. But, keep a sharp eye out for agitators to the public safety. Check out how good the buildings condition is. They are in good shape. You might not get to vote or check on the schools after this year in the school buildings you paid for. The school board solved their problem by canceling school on voting days.

    Keep the comments civil and polite. The voters will make a better decision by being informed and given due regard by the respective boards and administrations. Things will get better and better in Greendale if the leaders make decisions in the best interest of the public.

    Reply

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