Thursday, June 20, 2019

Officers to be elected this Tuesday, June 25.

On Tuesday, June 25, the Richland 2 School Board will elect its officers for the coming school year. The term of office is July 1 - June 30. The positions to be elected are Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary.

The School Board elects from its own. Officers must be members of the board. Only board members can vote for officers.

Board Policy BD Organization of the Board provides guidance for the election.

The Chairman is elected first; then the Vice Chairman; then the Secretary.

If there is only one nominee, the vote is by show of hands. If there are two (or more) nominees, the vote is by secret paper ballot. You can see an example of the voting by viewed the YouTube recording of the nominations and voting for officers for the 2018-2019 school year, which was held on June 26, 2018. On YouTube fast-forward to 58:55 for the action.

During this past year there has been a "majority" on the board that has run things. And not for the best. Not in the best interests of the District. Not in the best interest of students. Nor of the voters. Or fairness. Or observation of law.

Will this "majority" attempt to maintain control of the board in the next school year?

For each office to be elected, the majority can be expected to nominate a candidate for the office. The "minority" group should nominate a second person. This will force a secret paper vote. There is always a slim chance that a board member voting in secret will display some backbone that will likely not happen during a show of hands.

The backbone was displayed at the June 2018 election of officers. Amelia McKie was nominated as Chairman by Trustee Caution-Parker, and no second person was nominated. This meant that voting was by a show of hands. The vote was five in favor. Trustees Agostini and Elkins-Johnson did not vote "For".

My guess is that this caught Supt. Davis by surprise. He seemed unsure how to proceed after he realized two had not voted. He then asked if there were any votes Against or Nay, and then he added Abstentions. He should have separated Nay from Abstentions. Only Dr. Elkins-Johnson raised her hand, and it was not determined whether she was voting Nay or abstaining. Mrs. Agostini did not indicate whether she was voting Nay or Abstaining.

For more detail on the June 2018 election of officers, click here.

Because of the way the board has been run for the past year, at this year's election, if a person with poor qualifications for an officer's position is nominated, then a second person should be nominated.

Should nominees not be allowed to vote? If they weren't, that would mean a majority of the others would elect the officer. Because of the small number on the board, this will result in additional problems.

I am reminded on the 1969 movie, Putney Swope. The opening is classic. The Chairman of the Board drops dead during a board meeting, and the board decides it must elected a new chairman. Nobody on the board wants to elect Putney Swope as Chairman of the Board. Several members of the board believe no one else will vote for him, and they think Swope ought to get at least one vote. He ends up with seven votes and becomes the Chairman.