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Wrenshall School Board authorizes outside investigation into misconduct allegations

The board approved moving forward with Red Cedar Consulting LLC, to investigate claims of misconduct within the district.

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Wrenshall School Clint Austin / 2021 File / Duluth News Tribune
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WRENSHALL — The Wrenshall School Board voted to move forward with an outside investigator to look into complaints of misconduct within the district, during a special meeting Thursday, June 30.

The contract for the investigation is with Isaac Kaufman of Red Cedar Consulting LLC, based in Edina, Minnesota.

The contract has a cap at $10,000, and if the investigation needs to go over the cap, the amount must be approved by the board.

John Edison, the district's legal counsel, recommended the board move forward with the investigation.

Board Chair Misty Bergman said there is no timeline for the investigation, but the board is hoping for the fastest outcome.

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"We have people's jobs at stake and also taxpayer dollars," she said.

While hiring an outside investigator is not routine for the district, Bergman said because of the recommendation of legal counsel, the board decided it was best for a more thorough investigation.

Edison said the investigation will look into the two complaints as well as a recent complaint he said was filed by board member Nicole Krisak, which has yet to be addressed in closed session.

The decision by the board to hire an outside investigator was initially brought up and tabled at its last meeting on June 14.

During the previous meeting Krisak said she wanted to have more time to look through the contract and speak with the proposed investigator, Justin Terch of Terch & Associates LLC.

Edison told the board that Terch has since withdrew himself from consideration of the position.

During the previous meeting board member Ben Johnson said there was a slight conflict of interest with the firm, which was discussed during the board's closed session, as it has ties to the Carlton County GOP.

In a letter submitted to the school board, Terch said he had previously disclosed that his contact with the party is very limited and that he did not have a conflict of interest in this matter.

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"Nevertheless, whenever working with public bodies such as School Boards, it has always been my preference, whenever possible, that the School Board be unanimous in their choice for an investigator to ensure that there will be confidence in its outcome," he said in a letter submitted to the district.

MORE FROM DYLAN SHERMAN:
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Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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As reported by Carlton County District Court.