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Greenwich BOE Chairmanship Undecided

An unusual 4-3-1 vote has put off installment of the first Democratic board chairman since 1979.

Greenwich will have to wait a little longer to find out whether a Democrat will chair its Board of Education for the first time in more than 30 years.

It's unclear whether a 4-3 vote with one abstention in favor of a Democrat for the chairmanship during Tuesday night's board meeting constitutes a "majority vote," according to Town Attorney John Wayne Fox.

Current Vice Chair Leslie Moriarty, a Democrat, was nominated for the position, as was current board Chairman Steve Anderson.

Here's how the votes broke down, after Town Clerk Carmella Budkins swore in new members Jennifer Dayton, Adriana Ospina, Barbara O'Neill and Peter von Braun:

  • Dayton, Kail, Moriarty and Ospina supporting Moriarty
  • Anderson, O'Neill and von Braun supporting Anderson
  • Board member Peter Sherr abstaining

After the vote, Fox was asked to give his opinion on what constitutes a majority of the Board.

Fox said the question is a "fair" one which he has spent a significant amount of time contemplating and researching. According to Fox, the 4-3-1 vote doesn't constitute a majority of the full board, which would be five. Therefore, he said, no chairman has been elected.

Moriarty made a motion for the matter to be referred to Board of Education Attorney Tom Mooney. Anderson countered that the board relies on the opinion of the town attorney (Fox) as a basis for its actions. 

Dayton said the board had nothing to lose by seeking a second opinion. Anderson said he was concerned that such a move would set a precedent to "shop for a second opinion," but that it would remove doubt as to the interpretation. The board voted 8-0 to seek an opinion from Mooney for no more than $5,000.

The last Democrat to lead the Greenwich Board of Education was Beverly Jomo, who served on the panel from 1971-1979, chairman for the last four.

Moriarty suspended the election until Thursday, Dec. 1, when the Board of Education will meet again for a 7 p.m. Work Session at the Havemeyer Building.

Henry Fields December 01, 2011 at 02:03 AM
If Steve Anderson had any character whatsoever, he would concede the election right now. What an amazing George Bush move he's trying to pull. Having received less votes than his opponent, what makes him think he's entitled to win the election? SHAME on you.
dd December 01, 2011 at 03:29 AM
I agree, Steve Anderson should step aside immediately. Even better would be if both Anderson and Moriarty stepped aside and allowed another candidate to be nominated that could get a true majority
Ed Krumeich December 01, 2011 at 09:03 PM
The problem with your suggestion DD is that four members of the BOE are brand spanking new and not ready to be Chairman. Of the other four, one is in her first term and the other, also in his first term, has announced he will not run for re-election and will not vote for Steve Anderson. That leaves Steve and Leslie Moriarty as the only experienced board members and the vote was 4-3-1 in favor of Leslie. I agree the elegant solution is for Steve to withdraw and clear the way for Leslie. Hopefully, the BOE will decide to select its own Chair and not punt the decision to the Selectmen, who will likely vote 2-1 on party lines to retain Steve.
Henry Fields December 05, 2011 at 07:10 PM
What HYPOCRISY on the part of Anderson and the Republicans. When Mariana stood up for better education for our children, she was roasted alive because she wouldn't "move forward" with an issue that was already decided. How in God's name can you come back and try to steal an election that you lost 4-3-1, and try to change the result? SHAME ON YOU Mr. Anderson.

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