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4 nominated to fill At-Large seat on Manchester school committee

New Hampshire Union Leader

September 05. 2018 9:46AM

MANCHESTER — City aldermen voted Tuesday to nominate four candidates to fill the At Large seat on the Board of School Committee formerly held by Nancy Tessier, who resigned her position as of Aug. 24.

The nominations of former Ward 3 Alderman Pat Long, former Ward 2 school board member Debra Gagnon-Langton, resident Mike Porter and former Manchester High School Central principal John Rist will now layover until a vote by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in early October. A motion by Ward 5 Alderman Tony Sapienza to suspend rules requiring the nominations layover and allow a vote on the candidates Tuesday night failed, with Aldermen Kevin Cavanaugh, Will Stewart, Tim Baines, Chris Herbert, Dan O’Neil, Bill Shea, Bill Barry and Normand Gamache opposed.

In a letter to Mayor Joyce Craig dated Aug. 24 Tessier, the former elementary school principal, wrote that she was resigning immediately.

“As you are aware, I have had some recent health problems and this has necessitated this very difficult decision,” she wrote.

Last week, the Manchester school board asked aldermen to select a replacement. Under the city charter, aldermen nominated a replacement, who will serve for the remainder of the term, which lasts through 2019.

Board members have traditionally looked for the ward alderman to bring forth a nomination for consideration for a vacancy on the school board. There is nothing, however, in either the charter or the rules of the board preventing a nomination coming from another member of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, according to City Clerk Matt Normand.

The process gets more interesting when more than two nominations are made. Rule 22 of the board states that “No City official shall be elected, or his appointment confirmed when required, until his election or confirmation receives a majority vote of all of the Board of Aldermen elect. When more than one person is duly nominated for the same office and a roll call vote is called for by any Alderman or by the presiding officer, the roll call must be held jointly for all persons duly nominated for the same office.”

In other words, all three names brought forward for nomination are part of a single roll call vote — aldermen will state the name of the individual receiving their vote for confirmation, and the vote will continue until a candidate receives eight votes.

The mayor has a vote to break a tie in the case of an equal division of the board and, as with all actions of the board, has the right to veto the appointment. Ten votes are required to override any veto.

Tessier served the school district for 44 years.

She was a principal at Beech Street School. In 2002, Tessier lost out on the superintendent’s job when a divided school board selected Michael Ludwell as superintendent. Tessier became an assistant superintendent. In 2015, she was appointed to the school board to fill a seat vacated by David Wihby.

In a statement, Craig said she accepted the resignation with regret.

“For more than 40 years, Nancy dedicated herself to helping students and advocating for teachers across the Manchester School District. Her departure from the Board of School Committee is a loss for our community,” Craig said.

Education Local and County Government Manchester

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