Judge must remedy school board issue


(Posted Jan. 14, 2016)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

A rare twist of fate found four Jefferson Local school board members shutting down board activity and leaving the decision of a new president, vice president and replace-ment board member up to a judge.

During the board’s Jan. 11 organiza-tional meeting, the vote for a new president was split between David Harper and Dr. Meg Hiss with two votes each. Former board member Ed Shepherd tendered his resignation in December after a petition snafu kicked him off of the November ballot in order to apply for the open position.

However, in order to conduct business, the board must have a president and vice president. Gene Keel nominated Harper, and Jerry Doran nominated Hiss. With the split list of candidates, there was no majority winner and the meeting came to an abrupt end.

“Both positions must be elected before moving forward with the meeting,” said Superintendent William Mullett. “Everybody knew if we were unsuccessful, (the decision) would go to Judge Chris Brown, who is a Madison County probate judge.

“I spoke to him prior to the meeting and told him that we might need his assistance. I called him this morning and then drafted a letter from our attorney telling him what needed to be done to start the process (of selecting a board president, vice president and member).”

Mullett said he hopes a decision is rendered soon, but admitted there is no timeline for the judge to make his decisions.

“Meanwhile, things have to carry on,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll work through this process. The driving force behind this is having an even number of board members and not a full five-member board.”

According to Mullett, the issue became more problematic when the board lost the opportunity to appoint a new member within 30 days of Shepherd’s resignation.

“Mr. Shepherd resigned on Dec. 15 because he wanted to be back on the board and needed to wait 10 days before (the pos-sibility of) being reappointed,” said Mullett. “It also allowed the board time to accept and interview candidates, including Mr. Shepherd.

“The initial intent of the board was to hold interviews and then sometime after Christmas, but before the end of the year, hold a board meeting and make the appointment.”

Doran, Harper and Hiss—Keel was unable to attend—interviewed a quartet of candidates, but then chose to postpone the decision until after the first of the year. Mullett said once the calendar turned over to 2016, the board was without a president, could not schedule any special meetings, and was forced to wait to take any action until the organizational meeting.

Without a majority vote for leadership, the decision was turned over to Judge Brown. Because Shepherd resigned on Dec. 15, the 30-day window for the board to name his replacement ended on Jan. 14. Without a board president, the selection of a new member also became Brown’s responsibility.

“I have never been a part of a process like this,” stated Mullett, “where the election of a school board president was put into the hands of a court judge. My hope is to have a decision within a two-week period, but I don’t know if that will happen.”

Previous articleLondonite part of national touring ‘Annie’ cast
Next articleConley leaves coaching job at Ohio Dominican


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.