BREAKING TUES. P.M.:Patsy Simpson threatens not to step down until “rubric” in place to decide criteria for her replacement

School board member Patsy Simpson, who had recently announced her intention to step down May 22, told board members this week that she would not step down until she can be assured of the questions and criteria that will determine who the remaining board members may select for her replacement after she steps down.

She insisted that a “rubric” needed to be in place now – she wanted the school board to decide on the questions that would be asked of candidates during a work session Tuesday afternoon.

Simpson was the lone vote against a motion by board member Dan Ingle to suspend all procedures related to selecting Simpson’s replacement.

The motion passed 5-1; voting in favor were Ingle, chairman Sandy Ellington-Graves, and board members Ryan Bowden, Donna Westbrooks, and Charles Parker; Simpson was opposed; and board member Chuck Marsh was absent due to illness.

The board has set in motion an application process at its last meeting that was to be available for applicants to fill out prior to a June 1 deadline. Simpson had opposed that approach as well, voting against the motion, which passed 6-1, because she did not agree with interviewing candidates.

Simpson has voiced her support for appointing Seneca Rogers, who was the fourth place finisher for three available positions among six candidates on the ballot.

Instead, that application process was scrapped altogether as a part of Ingle’s motion.

The board’s attorney, Adam Mitchell, had told the school board last week the remaining six board members could choose to accept applications or letters of interest, or they could simply vote to appoint someone to fill the vacancy after it occurs.

“The board cannot act until the vacancy officially exists,” Mitchell told the board last week.  He said other school boards have followed a “more robust process,” in which a vacancy is posted and applications are submitted by interested community members.  “Generally, the board will choose to interview candidates,” he said. And, he added, “There’s no part of this process, at all, that’s allowable [to be discussed] in closed session.”