When Monroe Board of Education Chairman Darrell Trump is unable to attend a meeting, Secretary Mark Hughes serves the role of acting chairman. It has been that way for years, but the board's Policy Committee is recommending that a vice chairman position be created, increasing the number of officers to three.
"Other boards and commissions in towns have a vice chairman," Hughes said during a discussion at Monday's board meeting. "It helps to organize the procedures."
Hughes added that 16 of 19 school districts in Monroe's District Reference Group have all three positions of chairman, vice chairman and secretary.
The Board of Education currently has six Republicans and three Democrats. Kelly Plunkett, a Democrat, said, "I don't agree that we need to add a vice chair, but that's irrelevant. Adding a third position that's a strong position in a nine member board, I would like to see one of those three go to minority representation."
Fellow Democrat, Lee Crouch agreed, "It would be another way to enhance communications. I think we've done a good job of not being political on this board. It would be better for communication for all members of this board."
Hughes, a Republican, said any substantive changes would have to go to the Policy Committee.
Mark Antinozzi, another Republican on the board, said, "I have an objection to one of the minority party members being in one of the positions. I don't think there is a problem here. That's moot. Why bake a new cake?"
Plunkett said her proposal was to have minority representation after the next election when five seats would be contested. She contends that the Republican majority on the board often has information on issues coming before them well before sharing it with board Democrats — a point that Antinozzi disagrees with.