School Committee Can’t Decide on Leader, or How to Choose One

School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. during an earlier appearance over WHAV.

The School Committee decided to select a vice chairman rather than a president, but that’s the only agreement members could reach on the topic of board leadership Tuesday night.

They tried three times but couldn’t agree on a process to choose the vice chairman, then deadlocked on who their new second-in-command should be.

Ultimately, they put off the decision for another two weeks. President Gail Sullivan will remain in that role until then.

The protracted exercise in futility revealed a continuing split among School Committee members.

New member Richard J. Rosa failed at his attempt to bring the committee together by allowing the voters to select the vice chairman. He suggested following the example of the City Council and elevating the top vote-getter.

A suggestion by Mayor James J. Fiorentini, the committee’s chairman, to choose the vice chairman by seniority fell to defeat, as did a motion by member Paul A. Magliocchetti to set up a rotation allowing all members to serve in a leadership role, starting with any members who have yet to serve.

Rosa’s motion would have resulted in Magliocchetti becoming vice chairman.

Fiorentini’s suggestion would have put Vice President Scott W. Wood Jr. in the leadership spot, while Magliocchetti’s plan would have elevated Sven A. Amirian to the vice-chairmanship.

Wood said any policy would be non-binding, just like the one the committee has followed since 2008 to move the vice president into the president’s seat and select a new vice president.

“Everybody’s going to vote the way that they want to,” Wood said. “Let’s be honest, I think we all know why we’re here.”

He called the proposed policies meaningless.

“Why create a bad policy, or a bad understanding of a policy, just because we don’t want somebody to be president?” Wood said.

When all three policy suggestions failed, the committee resorted to its usual practice of nominating potential leaders. Member Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello nominated Wood; Magliocchetti nominated Amirian.

Each man voted for himself. Ryan-Ciardiello and Fiorentini sided with Wood.

It appeared that Ryan-Ciardiello experienced a change of heart since the committee’s last meeting, when she supported Magliocchetti’s contention that all members should have a chance to serve.

She said Tuesday she supported Wood because of his command of Robert’s Rules of Order and the beneft of his 15 years of experience on the committee in the face of the current superintendent search.

Magliocchetti and Sullivan voted with Amirian.

Rosa, the potential deciding vote, abstained, saying he promised during the campaign that he would avoid politics.

As a result of the committee’s approval of Rosa’s motion to elect a vice chairman instead of a president, the position of vice president of the School Committee was eliminated.