The Elkhorn School Board Embraces The "Lone Gunman Theory"
Last week, our News Department reported on the firing of Steve Hensel, a long-serving volunteer football coach in Elkhorn.
In a voice mail left for him by Elkhorn Athletic Director Dean Wilson, Hensel was told that District Administrator Greg Wescott (pictured above) wanted him gone based on "the Martell letter and the Carlsons things ... ." Hensel understood this to refer to his support for write-in candidate Paul Martell over incumbent School Board member Edward Carlson in the election last April.
I subsequently wrote a piece cautioning people in Elkhorn to be careful crossing the School Board and the Administration. They seem to be pretty good at trying to make their enemies disappear.
In any event, the Elkhorn School Board held a public meeting last night and received an earful from at least a few upset citizens.
In response, Board enforcer Greg Wescott denied directing that Hensel be fired (despite the clear language of the Wilson voice-mail) and denied talking with school board members about the matter (again, despite the pretty clear implications to the contrary in the Wilson voice mail). Wescott did admit to saying that he wouldn't support Hensel's appointment as football coach because of his "judgment" but declined to comment further.
Frankly, the explanation given the public makes no sense. Did the Athletic Director lie to Hensel when he said that Wescott wanted him out based on "the Martell letter and the Carlsons things"? Alternatively, is Wescott lying to the public when he says that the district would never make a staffing decision based on politics? Also, if Wescott did make the statements that Wilson attributes to him, it is reasonable to believe that he was acting on his own without any input from at least a few members of the School Board?
Maybe you buy the "lone gunman" theory, maybe you don't. Regardless, it seems that someone in authority isn't telling the truth. I don't know who that someone is but I think I could make an educated guess.
Taxpayers in Elkhorn shouldn't have to speculate about things like this though. They deserve more candor than it seems that they're getting. Beyond this, Steve Hensel deserves to continuing coaching unless the Board and/or the Administrator are able to come up with some really good reasons why he shouldn't.
I'm told that some people in the middle of this don't like having their behavior referred to as being "goonish". To that I would simply say: "too bad". If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it isn't a pheasant.