School Board Member MIA At Conference
MILWAUKEE – You Paid For It: A Milwaukee school board member was supposed to attend a convention, but she was missing in action.
Charlene Hardin and a secretary were "missing in action" at a conference in Philadelphia.
They were sent there at taxpayer expense. So where were they?
Milwaukee's High School for the Arts paid for the trip. Hardin claims she went to the sessions, but organizers say she wasted the district's money.
"I think it's so important that we make sure our families are safe,” Hardin said.
Hardin told TODAY’S TMJ4’s Tom Murray she was at the Philadelphia convention…so he asked her what she learned.
Murray: “What were some of the sessions? Who were some of the speakers?”
“Well...I don't even remember that,” Hardin said.
Organizer Pete Pochowski says Hardin doesn't remember because she never attended any of the sessions.
“I thought it would have been great for her to be there. So I’m disappointed, disappointed and angry as a taxpayer,” Pochowski said.
Pochowski, a retired Milwaukee police captain and former MPS security chief sent us more than 100 photos of ceremonies, lectures and breakout groups. You won't find Hardin in any of them.
Registration officials finally saw Hardin halfway through the event. They say she came looking for her share of participant freebies.
"She was angry that there was not a carrying bag for the information,” Pochowski said.
Pochowski claims Hardin was determined to leave with something...
"She took a bag she got from one of the vendors and filled it with items like donuts and muffins and soda and then left the conference,” Pochowski said.
Murray: “The executive director says you took a bag, filled it with muffins, donuts and candy, and then stormed out of there.”
“No, I did not,” Hardin said.
Murray: “Why would they make that up?”
“I don’t know,” Hardin said.
Hardin may not have had an answer for us, but we talked to MPS parents who are very upset. The school board president says he will do some investigating. MPS administration had no comment.