School board member moving out of state

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One school board member announced his resignation Monday night, while another, who said she was resigning, has returned to the panel.

Mark Wilkerson announced at the end of the school board's monthly meeting that he'd be resigning, effective Tuesday, because he has a job offer in Kansas City. His resignation letter has already been sent to county mayor Joe Boyd Liggett's office.

"It's been a pleasure and a privilege to work with you," Wilkerson said. "I regret that I cannot serve out my term."

Board chairman Mike Keny replied, "It's been a privilege to serve with you."

"I'm happy for Mark that he's found employment," board member Craig Michael said the next day, "but I hate that he has to leave the area."

Wilkerson represented the 2nd District, near Chapel Hill. The County Commission intends to fill his seat at its November meeting, and the successful applicant would serve until the August election.

Board member Kristen Gold was in her accustomed seat when the meeting started. When it came to approving the minutes of previous meetings, Keny pointed out that the minutes of the Oct. 5 meeting should be changed to say that Gold and Todd Tietgens had "announced their intention to resign," not that they had resigned, because neither submitted a letter of resignation to the county mayor.

Tietgens was not at the meeting, and his intentions are unknown. "Technically he's still a member," Keny said.

Legal counsel Sam Jackson, from the school board's law firm of Lewis, King, Krieg and Waldrop, sat in Tietgen's chair at the board table to give advice on matters that came up during the meeting. Jackson spent 45 minutes talking privately with board members before the meeting, which started half an hour late because of this.

The board needed legal advice on grievances brought to them by the Marshall County Education Association, the teachers' bargaining agent.

The board also needed Jackson to draft a contract for interim director Roy Dukes. There was no contract when Nancy Aldridge acted as interim between the firing of John David Pierce and the hiring of Stan Curtis, but Jackson recommends that a contract be signed.

The board unanimously approved Michael's motion that Jackson and Dukes formulate a proposed contract and bring it to the board at the next meeting.

They will hold a special called meeting, followed by a work session, at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, to agree on a written response to the MCEA's grievances within the 10-day time limit. The board also plans to discuss: its goals for the year; the possibility of converting to geothermal energy to heat and cool the schools; the search for a new director; and selection of a member of the negotiating team.