Rome Board of Ed. President reveals candidates and process for filling vacant seat

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At the most recent Regular Meeting of the Rome Board of Education on February 10, Board President, John Nash used the Old Business segment at the end of the agenda to add the unslated update that the district had received resumes and letters of intent by the stated deadline from six candidates raising their hands to be appointed to the Board seat vacated by the resignation of Member, Craig Ferretti on January 27.
 
The six candidates include three former Board members, Dr. Stephen Hampe and Paul Fitzpatrick, the two most recent presidents of the Rome school board prior to Nash taking office, and former Member, Jennifer Geiger. Three Rome residents throwing their hats in the ring who have not previously served on the Board of Education include Kelly Carinci, Danielle Lubecki and Bill Tagliaferri.
 
The New York State Association of School Boards does not prescribe a procedure for filling interim vacancies, thus granting the Rome Board broad latitude in determining how they will do so. 
 
“It is up to the Board,” confirmed Nash.
 
At their January 27 regular meeting, after approving Ferretti’s resignation, they discussed three options: 1. to leave the seat vacant until the May elections, at which time the candidate elected to Ferretti’s seat would be seated immediately, rather than on July 1, when current members whose terms expire and June 30 and who did not run for re-election or did not win it would step down; 2. hold a special election to allow voters to select the new member, in which case the member would be seated as of the confirmation of those results and sit through June 30, 2025; or 3. as a Board, appoint an interim member, who would serve until the voters elected a candidate to fill the seat, where – as with not filling it – the winning candidate would take office as soon as results were certified in May. The interim member could file to run to win the seat and continue to serve through June of 2025, but would not be assumed or obligated to do so.
 
Members agreed at that time that, with critical issues facing the Board, such as the redistricting plan, they had no appetite for putting matters to a vote of an 8-member panel and risking a tie. While there was discussion of including the election of the new member with a special election in March to improve a capital project, the decision was made to appoint an interim member with the goal being to seat and orient that member as soon as possible.
 
Nash confirmed at the February 10 regular meeting that the Board planned to interview the six candidates the following week. He shared that an executive session of the Board of Education would be convened at the conclusion of the interviews “to discuss.”
 
“If we come up with a consensus on an individual candidate,” said Nash, that is who we will bring forth on February 28.”
 
In the event that the members do not achieve a consensus around one candidate in that executive session, Nash said, “I suspect more than one person will be put up for a vote."
Rome Superintendent of Schools, Peter Blake, confirmed that a Rome Board of Education has conducted a public roll call vote to seat an interim member in 2015, so there is a precedent for the procedure.”
 
Any such vote of the Board would be required to take place during a public meeting of the Board of Education.  Nash was unclear as to whether such a vote, should it be called for, would take place during the next regular meeting; but, under whatever circumstances it may take place, Nash expressed his goal that the interim member would fill the vacant seat as of the regular meeting of the Rome Board on February 28.

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