By Amanda Tonoli
The Youngstown Board of Education will once again be led by Brenda Kimble.
Members Michael Murphy, Ronald Shadd, Jerome Williams and Kimble voted for Kimble after the reorganizational meeting continued for 31/2 hours Friday evening, after a three-hour meeting Tuesday night ended with no result.
Due to the nominations of Kimble, Dario Hunter, Corrine Sanderson and Jackie Adair, Treasurer Sherry Tyson asked each member who they were in favor of rather than a yes or no vote.
Hunter, Adair and Sanderson voted in favor of Adair.
During the meeting, members requested Tyson’s interpretations of a number of rules, then proceeded to argue with one another and Tyson about her answer.
“What it sounds like to you is not a rule,” Hunter said. “You know how the kids say, ‘Pic or it didn’t happen?’ Rule or it doesn’t exist.”
Another opinion sought and disputed was the legal one of Megan Zidian, the district’s attorney.
Kimble asked Zidian if the board needed a two-thirds vote or majority vote to pass a motion to reduce the meeting’s speaking times during debate – from 10-minute allotments per person to three minutes – after Hunter gave a 25-minute speech about nominating Sanderson.
Zidian said although Robert’s Rules state two-thirds vote is needed, the district’s board policy says only a majority is necessary and “board policy trumps Robert’s Rules.”
Robert’s Rules – or Robert’s Rules of Order – are the meeting procedures most public meetings follow.
Board members Hunter, Sanderson and Adair took to attacking Zidian.
“Thanks to someone who is not our attorney,” Hunter said.
Adair agreed with Hunter and said Zidian is not their attorney, so the point was moot.
Sanderson demanded proof.
“I appreciate the attorney’s opinion, but it’s just an opinion,” Sanderson said.
Hunter suggested Zidian’s actions would make her vulnerable to a report to the Mahoning County Bar Association.
Adair brought perspective back into the conversation by saying, “This shows no one is that much of a hotshot on Robert’s Rules or our policy, and we need to be moving forward.”
Kimble stated her reasoning behind the original motion – limiting speaking times during the meeting.
“Mr. Hunter is abusing the time, and it is not fair to the rest of us,” she said. “This is a reorganizational meeting, and if we don’t vote [tonight], we are violating a state statute.”
Tyson concurred with Kimble.
“It doesn’t matter what time we get out of here because the law supersedes our rules,” she said.
Kimble added that if there is too much unnecessary conversation, the speaker can be cut off so there is appropriate time for voting.
“This is a ploy to stop this district and this board from moving forward,” Shadd said.
Hunter vehemently disagreed.
“A motion to limit debate is a motion to render this body useless,” he said.
Sanderson said House Bill 70 has taken enough of board members’ rights and they “are already lame ducks.”
House Bill 70, or the Youngstown Plan, enables the chief executive officer, Krish Mohip, to lead the district and to have a state-appointed academic distress commission to have oversight, while leaving the elected board of education in place.
“Democracy is about each and every public official having the right to express themselves,” Adair said.
After almost four hours, and a pizza delivery from Mohip, members finally came to the end of presidential nominations with one last plea from Adair and Hunter – that Shadd should not be able to vote for Kimble because she is his mother.
“Votes from the same family should count as one,” Adair said.
Hunter argued it was a conflict.
“Voting for your own mother is a conflict, or appears to be one,” he said.
Board members had not yet elected a vice president after four hours during Friday evening’s meeting and three hours during Tuesday’s.