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UPDATED: Naming names: City, school leaders to pool BOE nominees

July 21st, 2014 11:34 am by Rick Wagner

UPDATED: Naming names: City, school leaders to pool BOE nominees

UPDATE: The meeting of city and school leaders took place Monday and progress was made, the mayor said, but no names are ready for release. However, he said no former BOE members are among the names discussed as frontrunners.

KINGSPORT — City and school leaders hope to come up with appointees for two vacant school board seats Monday.

Failing that, they at least hope to narrow the list of prospects so that appointments can be voted on by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen Aug. 5.

BOE member Andy King resigned to take a new job with his employer, Marriott, in New Orleans, while member and retired city teacher Betsy Cooper resigned to comply with a city policy that a family member, in this case her daughter, can't be hired by the school system while a person is serving on the school board.

Mayor Dennis Phillips, City Manager Jeff Fleming, Kingsport Board of Education Chairman Carrie Upshaw and Superintendent Lyle Ailshie are to meet Monday morning to discuss the appointments.

"My goal would be for the BMA to have two appointed at our next meeting" Aug. 5, Phillips said.

Having two school board vacancies occur at the same time likely has never happened in the city's history, city and school officials said.

Technically, the City Charter says the BMA will fill vacant BOE and BMA positions until the next election, although in practice the procedure in the past has been that the mayor recommends a candidate and the board appoints that person, which happened July 15 when Andy Hall of Wellmont Health System was named to take the place of resigned Alderman Jantry Shupe. He and the two BOE members resigned the same week.

On Monday, however, Phillips and Fleming are to come up with four potential appointees and Upshaw and Ailshie with four.

"I asked the Board (of Mayor and Aldermen) through Jeff to submit names," Phillips said Wednesday.

"We will narrow down Monday morning," Phillips said. "Hopefully, we've got two names the same on the lists."

Upshaw said she and Ailshie also are gathering names from the BOE.

"That's kind of where we are at through this point," Upshaw said. "I'm thrilled that we've got the four of us working together to choose qualified candidates."

Under the City Charter, the BMA is to appoint two BOE members to the vacant seats until June 30, 2015. In the May 2015 city election, those two seats would be up for grabs, as well as the seats of members Montgomery and Vice President Susan Lodal.

King's term and Upshaw's don't expire until June 30, 2017, and Cooper's term expires June 30, 2015. Upshaw said anyone running for the board in May 2015 would have to declare for one of the three four-year seats or the single two-year seat.

Phillips said he's seen much more "excitement" about filling the two school board vacancies than the replacement of Shupe, who resigned a week after being charged with driving under the influence.

Phillips has long expressed interest in "diversified" BOE members , including those from the business community, while Upshaw said someone with past experience, interest and commitment is important.

"Obviously, experience is always a good thing," Upshaw said. "What I think is the most important thing is they have the interest and commitment."

Two years ago, when Cheryl Harvey resigned so her husband, Kim Harvey, could take a job as principal of Sevier Middle School, BOE members expressed frustration and alleged their suggestions were not even considered. Then-BOE President Montgomery said at the time he had suggested former BOE member Pat Turner, but the BMA chose King after Phillips nominated him.

Aside from Cheryl Harvey, Cooper and Turner, other living former BOE members include but are not limited to Wally Boyd, Lib Dudney and Ron George, wife of Alderwoman Colette George, as well as Glen Moody and Paul Montgomery.

Upshaw said she wouldn't hazard a guess as to what names would end up on either list, and Phillips said he probably wouldn't look at any suggested names until Monday.

The BOE will hold a work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and its next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Aug. 7.

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