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Board of Education Member Resigns; Appointment Process Complicated

Andrew Pruski announced his resignation from the Anne Arundel County Board of Education on Wednesday. He is the Democratic nominee for County Council from District 4 and can't be on the fall ballot for two positions.

Andrew Pruski submitted his resignation from the Anne Arundel County Board of Education on Wednesday. File|Patch
Andrew Pruski submitted his resignation from the Anne Arundel County Board of Education on Wednesday. File|Patch

From the AACPS Communications Office:

Because Maryland law prohibits anyone from appearing on a general election ballot for more than one office, Anne Arundel County Board of Education member Andrew Pruski on Wednesday announced his resignation from the board, effective Aug. 1.

Citing the prohibition on appearing on the general election ballot as a County Council candidate and a candidate for retention vote as a Board Member simultaneously,

Pruski said he had submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who first appointed Pruski to his at-large seat to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Tricia Johnson in 2009. O’Malley reappointed Pruski to a full five-year term in 2013.

State law requires a board member to stand for a retention vote in the general election following his or her appointment to the board. Thus, Pruski’s name would have appeared on the November ballot for that retention vote. The Four Seasons resident, however, also won the Democratic primary for the District 4 County Council seat in the June 24 primary election, and will face Republican Chike Anyanwu in the general election.

Pruski’s resignation will leave the board with eight members.

“I believe that tendering my resignation at this time is in the best interest of the citizens of Anne Arundel County” Pruski wrote. “My hope is that the School Board Nominating Commission, which is required to provide you or your successor with names of candidates to fill my seat, will quickly and earnestly begin its work to find a replacement for my seat.”

The governor’s office has said it is currently unable to make appointments to fill board seats. It has cited as its reason a provision in the Maryland Constitution stating that a governor ineligible to continue in office generally may not appoint a person, except on an emergency basis, to a term of office in the Executive Branch of State Government when that term begins during the period between a primary election and the inauguration of the succeeding governor. The move of this year’s primary from September to June means that no appointment can be made for Pruski’s seat, the governor’s office said.

A similar situation exists for the at-large seat currently held by Board Member Kevin Jackson. Jackson’s five-year term officially ended June 30, but he will continue to serve in that seat until a new appointment is made by the next governor, the governor’s office said. The School Board Nominating Commission has forwarded the names of Jackson and Laurel resident Julie Hummer to the governor for consideration for that seat.

Board President Teresa Milio Birge wrote to the governor on behalf of the Board this week, urging him to make an emergency appointment for Jackson’s seat. In her letter, Birge argued that an appointment by the next governor would unfairly force county voters to wait until November 2016 – the first general election after such an appointment – to exercise their right to a retention vote for a board member. She said she plans to write the governor again, making the same appeal, in light of Pruski’s resignation.

In other news, the Board of Education on Wednesday elected Stacy Korbelak as president and Patricia Nalley as vice president for the 2014-2015 school year.

Korbelak, who was appointed to the Board in July 2012, succeeds Birge as president. A resident of Piney Orchard, Korbelak is an Associate Professor of English composition and literature at Howard Community College in Columbia, and coordinator of the college’s Global Distinction program. 

Nalley was appointed to the Board in 2007 and reappointed in 2012. The Annapolis resident was an elementary school teacher for 31 years and then spent 12 years in elementary administration, retiring as principal of Davidsonville Elementary School after nine years there.

Steve Holcomb July 10, 2014 at 06:39 AM
President Birge's comment that voters will not be able to "exercise their right" to vote in a retention election until November 2016 is beyond disingenuous. If members of the County School Board were elected outright, as in 20 other Maryland jurisdictions, we would be exercising our right to vote THIS November. This County desperately needs an elected School Board, especially given the nonsense being spouted by the current unelected and unaccountable Board members.

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