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Deer Lakes ponders how to fill seat

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2001

It's unclear whom the Deer Lakes School Board will choose to fill the seat won last week by a candidate who moved to Georgia two months before.

Nancy Rockenbach said she tried to tell as many voters as possible she was withdrawing from the election, but she still managed to receive enough votes to win one of four open spots on the board.

When the school board reorganizes next month, it will have to find a replacement.

Jim Esterly Jr., a current board member, finished fifth.

Esterly said he has yet to decide whether he's still interested. If he does seek the seat, he thinks he will receive serious consideration.

"If I do decide to go for the seat and they choose somebody else, I would understand and have no hard feelings," he said.

The Valley News Dispatch attempted to contact all eight of the other school directors and directors-elect to determine whether they would be inclined to vote for Esterly or open the position to anyone.

The four board members reached agree that if Esterly is interested he will receive consideration, but that the board may advertise the position to find out if anyone else is interested.

The board has 30 days from the time it reorganizes in December to pick a new member. If it fails to do so, the decision falls to an Allegheny County judge.

Board president Tom DeBolt said he plans to take up the issue at tonight's agenda meeting to learn how the board wants to handle the situation.

"I don't know what the rest of the board will want to do," he said. "I would give serious consideration to Mr. Esterly."

Vice president Joanne Polarinakis said the board will most likely ask for interested people, and then conduct interviews. She said she would give all applicants a fair look.

Board member Joe Catanese said, "I want to sit down with the entire board to see how we want to do it."

Catanese would give Esterly consideration, but said all interested people deserve a fair look.

"I want to try to have a fair and open process," he said. "If you just say we're going to get this guy and go, it doesn't look good."

Catanese said he'll look at what prospective candidates can bring to the board. He said he wants them to understand that being on the board takes a lot of time.

Board member Christine Hennrich agreed the board should advertise for interested individuals, but said Esterly seems to be one of the few people interested.

"He is the one that has gone through the whole process,'' she said. "Nobody else seems to be interested."

Movin' on

The results of the Deer Lakes School Board election:

  • Kenneth Krol (D/R): 1,963.
  • Christine Hennrich (D/R): 1,891.
  • Nancy Rockenbach (D/R): 1,424.
  • Thomas DeBolt (D): 1,335.
  • Jim Esterly Jr. (R): 1,149.

    The top four won, including Nancy Rockenbach, who moved to Georgia.

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