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Nine apply for open Newhall district seat

Board to appoint new member after elected official resigns

Posted: November 20, 2009 9:47 p.m.
Updated: November 21, 2009 8:00 a.m.
Nine people have applied for one open seat on the Newhall School District board.

The applicants are: Michelle Heid, Scott Miller, Becky Novy, Jennifer Altenau, Kevin Farr, Brian Walters, Michael Hidebrand, Ron Winkler and Chris Porrazzo.

Candidate interviews begin at noon Dec. 1 during an open special Newhall School District board meeting. A decision about the next board member will be made the same day, most likely around 5:30 p.m., Superintendent Marc Winger said.

The board will appoint a new member because voters re-elected Michael McGrath to one of three open seats in the Nov. 3 election.

The problem was that McGrath, who received more votes than any other candidate vying for the three open seats, had withdrawn from the race in September, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

But it was too late to take his name — and its accompanying “incumbent” status — off the ballot.

Current board members Suzan Solomon, Bob Jensen, Mike Shapiro and Steve Tannehill will interview candidates Dec. 1 and select a replacement for McGrath.

The appointed board member, who will serve a two-year term, will be seated Dec. 8 with Phil Ellis and Christy Smith, who were the second and third top vote-getters on Nov. 3.

Craig Duswalt, who came in fourth with 2,119 votes, said Friday that he did not apply for the open seat because he didn’t agree with the appointment process.

Per state code, district officials chose to go through an appointment process rather than a costly special election.

Duswalt is more concerned about voters electing McGrath when he said multiple times in public that he had dropped out of the race.

“I just think that’s sad,” Duswalt said.


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