06/03/10 — Committee prepares to start work filling school board seat

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Committee prepares to start work filling school board seat

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 3, 2010 1:46 PM

With applications already being submitted, meetings should begin within the next couple of weeks for the nonpartisan committee charged with making a recommendation to county commissioners for someone to fill the unexpired District 2 school board term of Shirley Sims.

The first meeting most likely will be organizational, commission Chairman Jack Best said during the board's Tuesday meeting.

"These will be open meetings and we will listen to everybody's views on this as best we can," he said. "As soon as we can find a suitable (meeting) location, we will announce it."

The six-member committee includes Best; Thelma Smith, vice chairman of the school board; Jimmy Williams of Mount Olive, former superintendent of Wayne County Schools; Andy Anderson of Pikeville, senior member of the Wayne County commissioners; Jim Parker, a former member of the school board; and Paul Smalley, a former Mount Olive town commissioner.

Ms. Sims, who has moved to Garner, has resigned from her school board seat effective June 30. Her term runs through 2012.

Ms. Sims represents District 2, which stretches southward from the south side of a section of Ash Street and includes Dudley and the area 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.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, Best reminded eligible District 2 residents interested in the seat to send their resume and letter of intent to Marcia R. Wilson, Clerk to the Board, Wayne County, P.O. Box 227, Goldsboro, N.C. 27533-0227. All applicants will be subject to a background screening.

County officials said three people have already applied, although their names were not released as of press time. In earlier comments, Best, who appointed the committee, said he did not want to embarrass nominees by giving out their names just in case they are not selected. However, he has since changed his mind and said the names would be made public.

For anyone interested, the applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. on June 21. The telephone number is 731-1445.

The final decision will be made by commissioners. They have made such a call once before in April 1997 when the board named a replacement for Carl Maples following his resignation from the school board.

Wayne County is unique in that commissioners and not the school board fill vacant seats on the nonpartisan school board.

The county and Goldsboro city school boards ceded that power to commissioners when the systems merged in 1991-92. It would require passage of legislation in the state General Assembly to return that authority to the school board.

That is something that needs to be done, local and state education leaders have said.