Search This Blog

Thursday, April 14, 2011

School Officials Investigate Political Emails Sent to Staff

EVAN YOUNG
Staff Reporter - Call Newspapers

April 13, 2011 - Mehlville school officials are investigating how staff email addresses were obtained by a third-party vendor that sent out a political email ahead of last week's election.

District staff reported receiving an e-mail April 4 advocating the election of Michael Klund to the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

The email, titled "Mehlville Firefighters and Paramedics Support Mike Klund," was sent from Local 1889 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Klund on April 5 narrowly lost his bid for the board seat to incumbent Chairman Aaron Hilmer.

The email stated, in part, "... The Mehlville Firefighters and Paramedics of Local 1889 are supporting Mike Klund for the Mehlville Fire Protection District on April 5th, and believe strongly that you should too."

The email, formatted as an electronic newsletter, included a letter from Russell Bono, a retired Mehlville fire captain and Marine Corps veteran, criticizing the MFPD for denying Local 1889's request to display fire equipment at a benefit for his grandson, a Marine who was severely injured in Iraq.

In addition, the email denounced Hilmer for testifying recently in favor of Missouri House Bill 409, which would offer an optional defined-contribution plan in the Missouri Public School Retirement System for new employees.

"The biggest threat to classroom teacher pensions, which they contribute 14 percent of their own paychecks to annually, are politicians like Aaron Hilmer," the email stated. "Protect classroom teachers and public servants by joining the grass-roots effort to elect Mike Klund."

A disclaimer at bottom of the email stated, "Email addresses used for this email were compiled through various family, friends, supporters of Mike Klund, the Mehlville Firefighters and Paramedics and public records, like taxpayer-funded websites."

District policy prohibits it from accepting political advertisements, Director of Communications Emily McFarland wrote in an emailed response to staff.

"We wanted to assure you the Mehlville School District does not endorse any political candidates and are investigating how your email addresses were procured," McFarland wrote.

The email was sent to more than 400 staff addresses using Constant Contact, an email-based marketing firm, she said.

"It is important for you to know that neither Constant Contact, nor the political candidate on the advertisement, obtained the district's permission to send out this email," McFarland wrote.

Officials told the Call the district has never used Constant Contact's services.

"It surprised us," Deputy Superintendent Eric Knost said on Friday. "From what I understand, and I'm learning about this too ... there's pretty sophisticated software out there that companies like that utilize to get inside of business email groups."

It's also possible the company "cut and pasted" staff email addresses from the district's website, Knost added.

He said the investigation is ongoing.

"I don't have many answers other than it did happen," he said. "We were not happy with it."

Beth Cross, community relations director for Lindbergh Schools, said she'd heard no reports of the email showing up in staff inboxes in that district, which includes areas the MFPD covers.

Klund told the Call that Mehlville teachers supported his candidacy but said he was "completely unaware" of the email.

Full text of email:


Mehlville Firefighters and Paramedics - IAFF Local 1889
In This Issue
Plea from Marine Veteran
Fire Board President Testifies Against Classroom Teacher Retirement
Quick Links
Our Sponsors
Find us on Facebook
Join Our Mailing List
Vote Mike Klund for the Mehlville Fire Protection Board - April 5th
Greetings!

First and foremost, thank you for your time.  The Mehlville Firefighters and Paramedics of Local 1889 are supporting Mike Klund for the Mehlville Fire Protection District on April 5th, and believe strongly that you should too.

18 Fire Districts Support Local Veteran Amputee - Mehlville Fire Board President Aaron Hillmer Opts Out.  :(

Todd Nicely at his charity event
Marine Cpl. Todd Nicely

Dear Neighbor,

I am a Marine Corps veteran and a retired Captain from the Mehlville Fire Protection District.

My grandson Marine Cpl. Todd Nicely lost both of his arms and legs in an IED explosion while serving our country in Iraq.  As a grandparent, I was devastated.

I wanted to do something special for my grandson when he returned home.  I helped organize a charity event in South County at Faith Lutheran Church so the community could welcome Todd home and we could honor him for his efforts in defending our country.

A request was made through the Fire Fighters to the Mehlville Fire Protection district Board to display Fire equipment at our event, which is common at neighborhood functions.  I am retired from the Mehlville Fire District after working 33 years there.

My family was devastated to learn the Mehlville Fire Protection District, whose Fire Board President is Aaron Hilmer, denied my request.  Thankfully, the Fire Fighters put out a call across the region and 18 Fire Districts sent trucks to the event.

If the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board, led by Mr. Hilmer can't support our veterans injured in the line of duty, then who can we support?

I will be supporting Mike Klund on April 5th.

Sincerely,

Russell Bono
Retired Mehlville Fire Captain,
Marine Corps Veteran and 
Grandfather of a young hero
President of Mehlville Fire District Board Testifies in Jefferson City against Classroom Teacher Pensions

Aaron Hillmer
Aaron Hillmer Testifies Against Classroom Teachers

"It does not go nearly far enough."  Aaron Hilmer, President of the Mehlville Fire District Board testifies in favor of House Bill 409, that effectively guts the retirement plan of our classroom teachers.

The biggest threat to classroom teacher pensions, which they contribute 14% of their own paychecks to annually, are politicians like Aaron Hilmer.

Protect classroom teachers and public servants by joining the grass roots effort to elect Mike Klund.  

Please join our coalition in telling Aaron Hilmer that he has gone FAR ENOUGH!
We of the Mehlville Firefighters and Paramedics ask you to join Mike Klund in his efforts to put Safety First! 
Elect Mike Klund to the Mehlville Fired Board to:
  • Stop Wasteful Spending
  • Stop Double Taxation
  • Keep Your Family Safe!
Sincerely,


Mehlville Firefighters and Paramedics
Local 1889
Email addresses used for this email were compiled through various family, friends, supporters of Mike Klund, the Mehlville Firefighters and Paramedics and public records, like taxpayer funded web sites.  If you wish to be removed from further communications with the Mehlville Firefighters and Paramedics 1889, be sure to use the Safe Unsubscribe link at the bottom of this email.
We know who was behind this. But will the Mehlville BOE do anything about it? Memo to Rich Franz and Mark Stoner: Get to the bottom of this election chicanery and turn it over to the proper authorities.

1 comment:

  1. Don't keep us in suspense, who done it?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for contacting the MCTA. Your comment will be considered for posting.