Liveblogging the School Board Meeting (with later edits)
Wow! Quay Watkins Declines School Board Presidency. I am in shock!
Sara Richmond Surprise Choice for President
Watkins offered to continue as VP.
Lacher appears red-faced…he “apologizes” for “what is about to happen here”.
Lacher shocks the room by nominating Chrisanne Petrone for School Board Vice President. Everyone knows Lacher is not making a quixotic nomination; he has the votes to defeat Watkins. Whoa!
Jerome Smith half-heartedly nominates Quay Watkins for VP anyway.
Board votes unanimously for Sara Richmond as School Board President.
Some in the room are visibly upset. Some of the board members appear a bit shaken. Organisciak is looking exceedingly uncomfortable. Cindy Babcock-Deutsch is squirming, playing with her water bottle, trying to look away.
Now comes the big vote for the VP spot.
It’s all jumbled. Can’t tell who voted for what.
Lacher calls for a Roll Call.
Here we go…
Babcock-Deutsch votes Petrone (1-0)
Jeff Hasty votes Petrone (2-0)
Richmond votes Petrone (3-0)
Polow votes Watkins (3-1)
Petrone votes Petrone (4-1)
Watkins votes Watkins (4-2)
Lacher votes Petrone (5-2)
Smith votes Watkins (5-3)
Mary Jane Reddington is not present.
It’s all over, 5 – 3 for Petrone.
OMG! For those who do not attend board meetings, trust me, you never, ever see this sort of thing. I am just slack-jawed and amazed at this turn of events. Just goes to show you never know what can happen.
To recap, voting for Petrone is Lacher, Hasty, Petrone, Richmond and Babcock-Deutsch. Voting for Watkins is Smith, Polow and Watkins
Oops…here it comes now…”in the spirit of unity”…Polow changes her vote for Petrone…6-2…now Watkins changes her vote for Petrone…7-1…finally, Smith changes his vote for Petrone…8-0. Richmond declares the vote “unanimous” for Petrone.
Uh oh! Not so fast!
Former School Board President Pearl Quarles is clearly steamed about Petrone and Richmond “jumping turn”.
Quarles says she did not come to speak (obviously she had no idea what was going down tonight!). She laces into the board especially past Board Presidents that are endorsing turn jumping. Says the two officers are not “seasoned” enough to be officers. Says she waited seven years for her turn and they should wait.
Julia Maxine Robinson is also very mad, “glad vote was open” so she could “see who voted for who”, keeps bringing up that New Rochelle is diverse and that leadership is not diverse.
Petrone interrupts, notes she is Hispanic. This makes Quarles and Robinson even more mad. Apparently not the diversity they have in mind.
But it does not matter. The vote is done and Richmond-Petrone are the new leadership team.
I will add that in the middle of all this was my turn to speak but forget that for now. Nothing could be more interesting then this board meeting.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the entire point of the evening — to install Polow and Hastie.
Julia Maxine Robinson button-holes David Lacher who tells her there is a “context” for what happened. He will not say that that context is. Unsolicited, Cindy Babcock-Deutsch walks past and tells Robinson “you have to know the whole story”. Robinson rightly replies “How am I supposed to know the whole story if you don’t tell me…you were up there, why didn’t you tell us the whole story.”
All in all the most eventful board meeting I have ever seen. It was nice to see this “spirit of unity” garbage set aside at least for one night so the people of New Rochelle can actually see a deliberative body function for real.
On a note of parliamentary procedure, the board passed a bushel full of resolutions after Liz Saraiva swore in Deidre Polow and Jeff Hasty. Most of the resolutions were required by state law for the school district to function for the entire year. I think they were all so rattled by what was going on they did not pay attention to the fact that Polow and Hasty should have been sworn in after Sara Richmond was sworn in as the new President so she could then swear them in. Instead the ended up swearing each of them in twice — once by Saraiva and once by Richmond — but the votes on the resolution came before Richmond swore on Hasty and Polow so I believe the votes were not valid. Anyone parliamentarians out there? Pearl Quarels seemed to agree that what they did not was correct procedure.
Whew! What a night. All I can say is that if all school board meetings were like this it would be appointment television that’s for sure!