Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Mini-melodrama as Plainfield Board of Ed reorganizes

New Board member Cameron Cox is sworn in...

...Along with member Terence Johnson...

And fellow member Dr. Avonia Richardson-Miller.

There was a sort of mini-melodrama at the Board of Ed reorganization meeting Wednesday evening. After new members Cameron Cox, Terence Johnson and Avonia Richardson-Miller were sworn in at the meeting in the PHS cafeteria, the next item of business was for the new board to elect its president.

Before that could begin though, the Board's attorney interrupted to describe for the public the BOE's policy on voting. As he explained it, votes by the Board require a majority of those present and voting. He pointed out that with full attendance at the reorganization meeting, there was a possible total of nine votes (if all vote). It interested me that he did not explain that a member could be present but NOT be counted in the vote total if they responded "present" when their name is called (rather than voting "no" or abstaining).

I was somewhat puzzled at this intervention. In the event, his remarks were quite timely.

Two names were put in nomination for president: Dorien Hurtt and Richard Wyatt.

The whisper all over town during the day had been that Wyatt would be the new president.

When Acting Secretary Yolanda Koon polled the Board, the results were --
  • Hurtt: 3 for, 6 against
  • Wyatt: 8 for, 1 against
Wyatt was declared elected and took the president's chair. T
he rumor was confirmed.

The next item of business was to elect the Board vice president. Board President Wyatt called for nominations, and three were offered.

Dorien Hurtt was nominated (again), along with new member Cameron Cox and Lynn Anderson.

In the first round of voting, Hurtt had 4 votes, Cox had 4 votes and Anderson had 3 votes. Since none of the three had the required five, another round was required.

The attorney explained the Board could simply vote again, have a runoff between the top two vote-getters, or leave the choice to the Executive County Superintendent of Schools (which, he sid, could take up to 45 days).

After some discussion, the Board voted 8-1 to have a runoff between the top two, Dorien Hurtt and Cameron Cox.

In this final round of voting, Hurtt polled 4 yes votes and Cox polled 5, making him the winner and new Board vice president.

It was the most dramatic event of the evening.

President Wyatt and the other new members made a few remarks and thanked their families, friends and supporters. Wyatt graciously thanked Emily Morgan for her service as last year's president and issued a call for "all hands on deck" -- challenging the group to work as a team in the new year.

Acting Superintendent Dr. Caryn Cooper congratulated the new Board president and Board members, whom she said she looked forward to working with.

Now begins the real work, and the real drama.

It is nearly a year since the former Superintendent was deposed and the Board has yet to even begin the search process.

And then there is the looming budget deficit -- what is it now, $11 million?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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