Within minutes of settling down to his first official Clinton City Board of Education meeting, new superintendent Stuart Blount witnessed his first split vote from the board as members attempted to reorganize their leadership.
“I would like to begin this meeting by opening the floor for nominations for chairpersons for the 2013 school year,” Blount noted.
Board member Diane Viser immediately nominated herself, followed promptly by current board chairman E.R. Mason adding vice chairwoman Georgina Zeng’s name.
With no more nominations, Blount asked for a vote which was split 3-3, with Viser, Randy Barefoot and newest board member Jason Walters raising hands in favor of Viser; and Zeng, Mason and Carol Worley voting for Zeng.
In lieu of the split vote, Viser asked Blount to withdrawal her nomination, which board attorney Albert Kirby noted could not be done since a vote had already been taken.
“Once the vote occurs, it is done,” Kirby told the board.
“Well, at this point, we have had one person remove their name as a candidate …,” said Blount.
“It doesn’t matter,” Kirby answered. “The vote is already taken, it is over. So, Mr. Mason will remain as chairman and Mrs. Zeng would remain vice chairman …”
“The vice chairman would not remain the same,” Blount gently corrected. “We took the vote for Mr. Mason and he will remain the chair, but now we will have to take a vote for the vice chair.”
“That is correct,” said Kirby.
“Yes,” noted Viser, “but this a new board and we have to reorganize the board, don’t we?”
To do that, Kirby reiterated, you need four votes. “If you are going to have four votes that will change it, otherwise, it will always be a split vote.”
At that point,Walters called for another vote, which was taken and returned the same 3-3 result.
“Because of the stalemate, Mr. Mason will remain as the board chairman,” said Blount, who quickly moved on to opening the floor for votes on a vice chairman.
Worley quickly nominated Zeng; Viser nominated Barefoot.
Again the vote was 3-3, with Viser, Barefoot and Walters voting for Barefoot and Worley, Zeng and Mason voting for Zeng.
The few in the audience shook their heads and smiled.
Mason congratulated Zeng who will remain vice chairwoman and moved on with the meeting.
To reach Doug Clark call 910592-8137 ext. 123 or email to email@example.com.