POINT PLEASANT — The sudden resignation of Mason County School Board Member Teresa Warner on Tuesday left the remaining school board members with a new duty - finding her replacement.
Warner’s resignation was turned in only a few hours before this week’s regular Board meeting which didn’t give remaining members much time to prepare a strategy to move forward, at least not this week. School Board President Dale Shobe said how to replace Warner would likely be discussed at a special meeting set for 5:30 p.m., Jan. 31 at the Mason County Library.
In 2010, Warner was reelected to a four-year term which expires on June 30, 2014. According to Jake Glance, spokesperson for the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, the Board members have to make an appointment to Warner’s seat within 45 days. If this doesn’t happen, the state superintendent will approve an appointment to fill the vacancy. However, Glance said this vacancy would only be temporarily filled until June 30 of this year because since the vacancy occurred more than 84 days before the next general election, Warner’s permanent replacement would have to be elected during the May 8 primary to serve out the remainder of her term which ends on June 30, 2014. Glance, and an attorney for the W.Va. Secretary of State’s Office, cited section 18-5-2 of the West Virginia Code as a basis for their statements.
In short, this means there are not two but three seats now up for election on the Mason County Board of Education. The seats currently held by incumbents Tom Nunnery and Michael Cottrill were already up for reelection before Warner resigned to create the third. On Wednesday afternoon, the Mason County Clerk’s Office reported five people have filed for the three seats. The filing deadline for all candidates for May’s election is midnight, Jan. 28.
Warner was not at this week’s meeting though her resignation was formally and unanimously accepted by the school board on Tuesday night after Shobe read her written resignation which was printed in the Wednesday edition of the Point Pleasant Register. Warner wrote she “regretfully” tendered her resignation due to “recent legal entanglements” and what she felt was “unfavorable attention to the Mason County School System” as well as her roll on the Board. Warner also wrote she planned on addressing her legal issues in the appropriate manner but recognized the publicity from these issues impeded her effectiveness as a Board member.
“The years I have spent on the Board have been personally rewarding to me, and I resign only because I feel that my continued service would be a distraction that would unnecessarily hamper the work of the Mason County Board of Education,” Warner wrote.
Board Member Michael Cottrill said he wished Warner well, saying though the two hadn’t always seen eye to eye, “it was an honor serving with her.” Like Cottrill, Board Member Randy Searls said he also hated the situation, calling it a “sad day” and that he enjoyed working with all the Board members.
“I wish Ms. Warner all the best,” Board Member Tom Nunnery said as did Shobe. Shobe also added he was sure the Board would move on and address the vacancy.
Despite indicating he would not run for reelection at a recent Board meeting, late Tuesday, Nunnery filed to retain his seat on the Board. Cottrill has also filed to retain his seat in the May election. (For all the latest candidate filings, see “For the Record” on A1.)