If successful, Gail M. Sullivan would become the first freshman school committee member to take the presidency of the board.
Gridlock prevented the election of a school committee president Thursday night as the same teams involved in the contentious seating of a replacement member found they also couldn’t agree on a leader.
An unbroken 3 to3 tie vote Thursday night for committee president nominees pitted freshman Gail M. Sullivan against two-year member and current vice president Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello. The impasse led to unanimous votes to postpone the annual election of officers until its next scheduled meeting Feb. 25. Mayor James J. Fiorentini, committee chairman, was absent and a tie-breaking vote could not be cast.
Election of a freshman as school committee president would be unprecedented, according to public records.
By voice vote, Sullivan was backed by Committeemen Sven A. Amirian and Paul A. Magliocchetti, while current President Scott W. Wood Jr. and returning Committeeman Shaun P. Toohey supported Ryan-Ciardiello.
Sullivan was nominated by Magliocchetti and seconded by Amirian, who participated by remote teleconference. Ryan-Ciardiello was nominated by Toohey and seconded by herself. Magliocchetti, Sullivan and Amirian also opposed the seating of Toohey during a vote of the mayor, city council and school committee Feb. 2. Toohey, brother-in-law of Ryan-Ciardiello, took the seat by a single vote.
Last month, at its first meeting of the year, the school committee agreed to postpone its election of new officers until the seat vacated by now-City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua was filled for the remainder of his committee term, which expires at the end of 2017. Toohey, who lost his re-election bid in November, was appointed back on the committee Feb. 2 in an 8 to 7 vote by a joint panel of remaining committee members, city councilors and the mayor.