July 12, 2013

SAD 51 co-chair resigns position

Bill Richards is the second member of the school board from Cumberland to quit in the last month.

By Matt Byrne mbyrne@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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

SAD 51 Board Co-Chair Bill Richards resigned effective this week because he sold his home and no longer qualifies as a Cumberland resident, said Martha Leggat, the board member who chairs the board's communications committee.

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 follows the resignation late last month of Co-Chair Jeff Porter, who tendered his letter of resignation for far different reasons.

Porter, frustrated with the school department's 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 beyond initial estimates.

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

The sudden vacancies left a leadership vacuum on the board.

The remaining seven board members will take up choosing a new chair at the next board meeting Monday.

Both of the departing school board members represented Cumberland, where the Town Council is moving to appoint interim members to replace them.

The council is accepting applications to 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 Town Manager Bill Shane and council Chair William Stiles.

Letters should be no longer than two pages.

They should include the candidate's 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 at 7 p.m. July 29, 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.

 

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at mbyrne@pressherald.com

 

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