05/28/10 — Slots filled on group to pick board member

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Slots filled on group to pick board member

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 28, 2010 1:46 PM

The nonpartisan committee has been finalized that will make a recommendation to county commissioners for someone to fill the unexpired school board term of Shirley Sims.

School board Vice Chair-man Thelma Smith was the first person to be appointed last week. Jimmy Williams of Mount Olive, former superintendent of Wayne County Schools, and Andy Anderson of Pikeville, senior member of the Wayne County commissioners, were appointed earlier this week.

Joining them on Thursday were Jim Parker, a former member of the school board, and Paul Smalley, a former Mount Olive town commissioner

Commission Chairman Jack Best, who appointed the nonpartisan committee, also named himself to the committee that will make the recommendation for a replacement for Ms. Sims, who plans to move to Garner and will step down from her school board seat on June 30.

Her term runs through 2012.

Eligible District 2 residents interested in the school board slot should send a resume and a letter of intent to Marcia R. Wilson, Clerk to the Board, Wayne County, P.O. Box 227, Goldsboro, N.C. 27533-0227. Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. June 21. All applicants will be subject to a background screening. The telephone number is 731-1445.

Commissioners, who will make the final decision on the appointment, authorized Best to form the committee at their May 18 session.

District 2 stretches southward from the south side of a section of Ash Street and includes Dudley and the section of Mount Olive east of the railroad tracks. It was created as a minority district when the county's voting districts were formed in the late 1980s.

Best has said committee meetings will be open to the public. However, he said he did not want to embarrass people by giving out their names just in case they are not selected.

Unlike other counties in the state, commissioners and not the school board fill vacant seats on the school board -- a power they have had since the county and Goldsboro city school systems merged in 1991-92.

Commissioners have exercised that authority once before in April 1997, when then-Chairman D.J. Pelt called a special session to name a replacement for Carl Maples following his resignation from the school board.

Local and state education leaders say it is time to end that practice.

Normally, a board of education will fill its own vacancy if it is nonpartisan, such as is the case in Wayne County. If it is partisan, then the political party of the departing member fills the seat.

Returning the appointing power to the school board would require passage of a local bill in the General Assembly.