Marble, Grandusky at odds over fourth person to fill committee slots

Fasten your seat belts, folks.

If a procedural dust-up between Kate Grandusky and Fred Marble during this week's school board meeting is any indication, district observers are in for a bumpy ride later this month.

That's when the three-member board is set to appoint two folks to fill out its ranks, something which, due to circumstances, could prove tricky.

On Monday, board chair Alisa Hampton, Marble and Grandusky quickly came to agreement on who to place in three of four open budget committee slots.

Dale Wiley and Jonathan Kipp earned three-year terms, while Deanna Friedman was tapped for a two-year commitment.

But when it came to selecting a fourth person and an alternate, Marble and Grandusky just as speedily reached an impasse.

Marble, a long-termer on the board, wanted Mark Nakajima, an experienced budget committee member, while Grandusky, a newcomer to the board, preferred 'new blood' in applicant Donald Pierce.

That's when the board bartering began.

'I'll accept Donald if you give me Mark,' Marble offered.

'I'm not going to change my mind about these two,' Grandusky retorted.

For lack of a unanimous 'yes' vote, the effort came to a standstill, so the board reopened the budget committee application process and set Jan. 23 as the new closing date. They're now due to make final decisions on a fourth member and a runner-up Feb. 27.

The situation served as an awkward prelude to the board's charge to fill out its own team this winter.

In order to seat new members, the threesome must all be on the same page Jan. 23 when they rule on a slate of eight candidates to fill out the terms of Terry Howell and Anna Tavera-Weller, who were recalled in November.

That's because state law dictates that on a five-member board, a quorum is defined as three members and it takes three affirmative votes from a school board to move forward action items.

'We'd need to have three votes on both the first and second [board] appointments, because whoever we appoint on Jan. 23 won't be sworn in (and thus able to vote) until Feb. 13,' Hampton said Tuesday morning. But there's another option.

If board members can't agree on a second appointee two weeks from now, they could put that decision off until mid-February, when the first appointee is seated on the dais and has the power to vote.

'Then we'd need three of the four votes to appoint a second person,' Hampton observed.

That process could also work when the board attempts, for a second time, to seat the last two budget committee members. The first time around, former school board member Ralph Brown, who was defeated by Grandusky in the May 2011 election, as well as current board hopeful Brad Coffey, were in the mix.

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