Niles school board fills vacant seat

By Virginia Ross

The board also reappointed Marlene Rhodes president.

NILES — The board of education has named Eric Lanham its newest member.

After meeting in executive session for nearly an hour Thursday, the board appointed Lanham to the seat previously held by Robert Marino.

Marino resigned unexpectedly last month, citing health and family reasons. Lanham is to serve the remainder of Marino’s term, which will expire Dec. 31.

Lanham, 36, was one of eight people who applied for the position. He had also applied for a seat vacated by the resignation of Dori Gatta MacMillan late last year. The board chose Traci Buttar to fill that post.

Board president Marlene Rhodes said that in this round, it was Lanham’s outstanding work as marketing chairman of the Niles School Bond Committee that gave him the edge over the other candidates.

“No one called him or asked him to help, but he came forward and offered his time and services and expertise, and that’s what made the difference,” Rhodes said. “All of the candidates have excellent qualities and skills, but Mr. Lanham’s work in getting the bond issue passed for our new building project pushed him over the top.”

Lanham, a graduate of Niles High School, is the marketing manager for 717 Credit Union. This is his first experience serving on the school board.

In other action, the board reappointed Rhodes president for 2009. Susan Giannetti Longacre was named vice president.

The school board also agreed to conduct its public meetings at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month, except in June when the meeting will be June 25, the last Thursday of the month, to allow the district to close out its financial books for the fiscal year. The meeting sites will be rotated among the various schools in the district.

The board also agreed to have a work session at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 before its 7 p.m. meeting to discuss and establish goals for 2009.

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