Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the political leanings of the Whitnall School Board members who voted for Kevin Stachowiak, including Stachowiak himself. It has been edited to remove political descriptions of members.
The Whitnall School Board in Greenfield, Wis. fired its executive assistant after discovering that she manipulated the results of Monday's Board President election to hand the victory to the wrong candidate.
In a letter Friday signed by all seven members of the board and Whitnall Superintendent Dr. Lisa Olson, it was revealed that on Tuesday "information was brought forward regarding irregularities that occurred during the annual reorganization of the board."
A district employee, who was not named in the letter but identified by multiple sources as Shari Rodriguez, executive assistant to the board and superintendent, was placed on administrative leave. The board held an emergency meeting Thursday night to discuss the results of the investigation.
"It was determined that the reorganization results were not reported accurately," the letter continues, "and the employee responsible has been terminated."
The board will meet Monday, May 8 to "correct the irregularities" of the previous vote.
During Monday's meeting, Rodriguez handed out paper ballots to each of the board members ahead of the vote for president. Each member checked a box next to the name of the candidate they preferred, and Rodriguez collected the ballots and then read the results.
Incumbent members Kevin Stachowiak, Jesse Stachowiak, and Quin Brunette supported for Kevin Stachowiak for Board President, while new members Cassie Reiner and Rachel Scherrer joined incumbents Jason Craig and Karen Mikolainis in lining up behind Craig.
Rodriguez, however, read the results as four votes for Stachowiak and three for Craig. Mikolainis immediately challenged Rodriguez's counting of the votes, noting that she had more ballots in her hand than members of the board.
"Those extra ones are in case of a tie," Rodriguez responded.
Mikolainis demanded a voice vote, but Brunette rejected this and insisted on a second round of secret balloting. Rodriguez handed out seven more ballots and members again voted. Again, however, Rodriguez read the results as four votes for Stachowiak and three for Craig.
Later in the meeting, Mikolainis, Reiner, and Scherrer confirmed that they had in fact voted for Craig, and Craig confirmed afterwards that he voted for himself.
There is no indication that Rodriguez was acting on behalf of Stachowiak or anyone else when she changed the vote totals.