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Citing family considerations, Bill Geiger has resigned from the District 202 School Board. The announcement, which came at the May 26 Board meeting, leaves the Board to find a replacement to serve the remainder of his term that expires on April 30, 2017. Mr. Geiger’s resignation was officially submitted the day after the announcement at the meeting.
Current Board policy states that a replacement must be appointed by the Board within 45 days. The vacancy must be publicized, interested residents allowed to apply for the position, and the Board must vote on a replacement during a public meeting.
“There is another way to do this,” said Board Vice President Mark Metz at the May meeting. Mr. Metz proposed that instead of having an open application process, the Board suspend policy and appoint the candidate who had the next-most votes in the recent Board election. The Board should “respect the voters” and select from the candidates who were “vetted by the public” during the recent campaign, he said.
“My response to that is that we have the ability to make the process as open or closed as we want as a Board,” said Gretchen Livingston, Board member and former Board president. “We have a process in place to allow the top vote-getter and anyone else to apply. It is important to keep the process as open and transparent as possible.”
That next top vote-getter was Anne Sills, who was present at the Board meeting.
Ms. Sills told the Roundtable that she intends to apply for the vacancy. “I would prefer to have been appointed given the fact that seven weeks ago I garnered 2,011 votes and campaigned from December to April the 7th at 7 p.m. for a seat. Those electorate responses were made in support of my capacity and my willingness to present myself for public service to the communities of Evanston/Skokie.”
Board President Pat Savage-Williams explained to the Roundtable that because Mr. Geiger’s resignation was not official the day of the meeting, the Board “could not have a full discussion around the process.” At the next meeting, June 8, that discussion will take place and it is possible the Board could “suspend the process and appoint Anne.” Since a replacement needs to be selected within 45 days of the resignation, “I didn’t want to lose two weeks” so “I went forward” with the policy now in place, explained Ms. Savage-Williams. If the Board decides to stick with current policy, interviews with applicants for the vacancy will take place after the June 8 meeting. The vacancy needs to be filled by July 10, said Ms. Savage-Williams.
The application is currently posted on the ETHS webpage. Deadline for submission is 4 p.m. June 5.
Mr. Geiger, who served on the Board since 2013, is moving to North Carolina with his wife to be closer to family.
“The hardest part [of my decision], in addition to leaving friends and a very supportive community – is this work here. While I’d love to continue to serve on the Board and support the vitally transformative work, it’s not possible. I regret that I cannot continue to be a part of this work. I wish you all nothing but the best. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”
Board members thanked Mr. Geiger for his service and expressed sadness about his leaving. “You embody public service,” said Board member Gretchen Livingston. Others discussed his “passion” and “kind and gracious” way. “We won’t be able to find another Bill,” said Board President Pat Savage-Williams.