Accountability is needed in Oberg case

My Nikkel’s Worth column

The legal battle between the Southeast Cornerstone School Division and former principal Wade Oberg came to a conclusion recently, with the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals upholding the decision by the Court of Queen’s Bench.

The original decision was in Oberg’s favour, finding that he was unfairly demoted, and that the action against him was “unreasonable” given the severity of the actions he took compared to the punishment — or, to put it another way, the punishment didn’t exactly fit the crime.

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The Court of Appeals agreed with the decision, and upheld it, saying that the QB justice did not make any errors in judgment.

Thus, Cornerstone was wrong to act in the way they treated Oberg, and now they’ve been told by the highest court in the province that they were wrong. So what happens now?

Up to this point, Oberg was still on staff but was on leave until the court matters were wrapped up.

One thought that comes to mind is there ought to be some accountability for all of this on the part of school division’s administrators.

The school division spent a whole lot of taxpayers money, first to fight Oberg in Court of Queen’s Bench, and then when they lost that court battle, they spent yet more taxpayers money to take it to the appeals court — and part of the judgment of the appeals court is the school division needs to pay for Oberg’s legal bills.

It would be interesting to find out just how much taxpayers money has gone into a losing battle, one that clearly they were wrong to pursue and wrong to keep on fighting.

How many times does a school board need to be told they acted in an unreasonable way?

They were told by a high court that the punishment just did not match the crime — and by the way, it was a crime that Oberg owned up to. He never denied that he acted wrongly in regard to his daughter’s volleyball team, and I’m sure he has regretted his actions. But look at the big picture: he worked for 25 years for Cornerstone, and as the court of appeals judgment noted, his record was spotless for 24 of those years. Sure, Oberg should have been reprimanded for his action, but not to the extent that the school division acted, with many questions raised about the process used and the fairness of it. Oberg’s paid a price, so now it’s time for the division to also pay.