July 11, 2013

SAD 51 resignations lead to search for new members

Cumberland residents are encouraged to apply to temporarily fill two school board seats left vacant by unrelated resignations.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A second member of the Cumberland and North Yarmouth school board has resigned, and officials are seeking applicants to temporarily fill the posts.

Board Co-Chair Bill Richards resigned effective this week because he sold his home and no longer qualified as a Cumberland resident, said board member Martha Leggat. Richards' home had been on the market for nearly a year before it sold, Leggat said. 

"Bill and his wife are moving at least temporarily to Rangeley where they own a home," she said. "He obviously cannot continue to serve, both practically, being far away, and legally, not residing in Cumberland."

Richards' departure on Monday followed the resignation late last month of Co-Chair Jeff Porter, who tendered his letter of resignation for far different reasons.

Porter, frustrated with school department leadership, said he could no longer trust Superintendent Robert Hasson and Finance Director Scott Poulin after the cost of a districtwide security system grew far from initial estimates. 

Hasson had taken responsibility for not keeping closer tabs on the overrun.

The sudden vacancies left a leadership vacuum on the board. The remaining seven elected board members will take up choosing a new chairperson at the next board meeting July 15.

Both of the recently departed school board members represented the town of Cumberland, and the Cumberland Town Council is moving to appoint interim members to replace them.

The council is accepting applications to temporarily fill the openings until the next municipal election in June 2014, according to the district. 

To apply for one of the seats, Cumberland residents should send a cover letter and resume to Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane and Council Chair William Stiles. 

Letters should be no longer than two pages and should include length of residency in Cumberland and a brief description of past community involvement and current knowledge of the school district.

Applications will be accepted until 9 a.m. July 22. The Town Council will conduct a panel interview with all candidates July 29 at 7 p.m., and residents are encouraged to submit  potential questions to their councilors. 

To be considered, send identifying information and an application to William Shane at 290 Tuttle Road, Cumberland, Maine 04021.

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