City school board spot remains vacant

NORWICH – “Back-door” politics are dividing the Norwich City School District Board of Education, board members argued at their annual meeting.

Tuesday, amidst bickering and accusations of hidden agendas, the six-member board failed to fill its vacant seventh seat left by Bill Winans, who resigned last month.

In separate 3-3 and 3-2 votes, Sally Chirlin, Tim Brown and Priscilla Johnson voted against both nominees – Clyde Birch and Judie Wright, both former members – and the position was left unoccupied. Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan said the board can re-visit the issue at a later time.

“It is obvious that some of the board members have a hidden agenda,” said board member Kathleen Coates, who voted for Birch. “Shame on them.”

After lengthy discussions on who would be named the next president and vice president, Patterson and Brown were selected respectively.

“What makes you feel qualified to be vice president?” Coates asked Brown before nominating herself for the position. “I do what I can with what I have,” said Brown. Coates’ nomination was not seconded and Brown was named vice president for the year.

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