If you followed yesterday's little blog chain on the school committee seat, and saw or heard about the discussion at the selectmen's meeting, there is a vacant seat resulting from the passing of David Gonsalves.
Absent a "charter provision" for filling such seats (only such one we have applies specifically to the BPW) I believe c. 41 , sec. 11 of the General Laws applies. Committee gives notice to selectmen of vacancy within one month of vacancy occurring. At a joint meeting of remaining committee and selectmen after one week notice of the meeting meet and vote. One vote for everyone involved (the five remaining school committee members and the three selectmen). It is a roll call vote by the way.
A majority of those entitled to vote shall be necessary.
Only legal qualification for the appointment to fill seat, you have to be a registered voter in town.
Stories are running in about four different versions about what happened at the meeting Monday night, what is going on, what has to be done.
Last word is the joint meeting will be held the morning of Town Meeting. Betting line is this will change.
I said it yesterday and I will say it here today, whoever fills that seat via appointment should be the applicant that will best represent the policies and philosophy of its former occupant.
The biggest problem I have with interim appointments to elective offices at any level is the fact that too often the same are simply politically expedient appointments. Not all the time mind you, just too often in my opinion. Such is life. I get it.
What was announced as two applicants Monday night now may be up to three, and who knows how many by the time the deadline to submit runs out.
Does the seat need to be filled? Well depends on your own thought process. The above same noted law does note that if the committee with the vacancy does not notify the selectmen within that one month, the right to fill the seat solely falls on the selectmen.
So to that end I say smart move, politically, by the school committee from allowing that option to occur. The selectmen want to make sure the meeting occurs when they are all able to be present. So to that end I say smart move, politically, by the selectmen.
Throw the politics out however, because quite frankly the filling of such appointments, in my humble opinion should in fact be based on the applicant that best represents the philosophy and policies of the prior occupant. To my way of think you do an absolute disservice to the voters who elected the prior occupant of the seat otherwise.
Might there be a situation where that should be otherwise. Sure.
Just as sure is the fact in my mind this isn't one of them.
This is my opinion. One I am sure other individuals will disagree with.
Speaking of things others will disagree with, the continuing saga of this year's selectmen's chair appointment. There will always be people who will disagree as to who should or should not be chair. Heck certain individuals were grumbling about last year's chair. They will be grumbling about this year's chair, and will just as certainly there will be grumblings about next year's chair.
My specific point on the whole matter is unless this town adopts a "first selectman" standard, than the standard we now use to rotate the chair should be maintained and shouldn't be changed on based on what ifs, fears, apprehensions and the like.
It is still a board that requires 2 votes to do anything. It is still a board where if something runs a miss, just a bit of knowledge about proper procedure can easily correct it. It is still a board where if the proper choice this year should have been the most senior selectman, absent some earth shaking event, that should be the proper choice next year.
An exception to the rule this year provides an exception to the rule going forward rule.
Again just an opinion.