A razor thin vote
MANCHESTER, NH February 15, 2021–As predicted in an article written yesterday by Girard at Large, Assistant Manchester school superintendent Jennifer Gillis is one step closer to being named superintendent of schools. The Board of School Committee, on an 8 to 7 vote, made the Goffstown resident interim superintendent.
After a three hour non-public session, board Vice-Chair Jim O’Connell (D-at-Large) moved to make Gillis the interim superintendent. The motion was seconded by Ben Dion (D-Ward 9). Voting in favor of the motion were O’Connell, Dion, Julie Turner (D-Ward 1) Sean Parr (D-Ward 2), Peter Argeropoulos (D-at-Large), Gary Hamer (D-Ward 10), Nicole Leapley (D-Ward 11), and Mayor Joyce Craig (D).
Voting against the motion nominating Gillis were: Karen Soule (D-Ward 3), Leslie Want (D-Ward 4), Jason Bonilla (D-Ward 5), Ken Tassey (R-Ward 6), Christopher Potter (D-Ward 7), Peter Perich (I-Ward 8) and Carlos Gonzalez (R-Ward 12).
A motion to make the vote unanimous was opposed by Soule and Tassey.
The vote may portend problems for Gillis and those backing her. Craig and O’Connell did a lot of arm twisting to get this vote, as did Hillside principal and principals’ union president Brendan McCafferty. That known Craig allies Soule and Potter bolted on the vote may indicate there are board members interested in a genuine search for a new superintendent, not one that simply goes through the motions to hand the position to Gillis. As of this writing, no details of how the search for a superintendent have been released by the board, which is odd given the amount of work that needs to be done and O’Connell’s utterings about having a new superintendent in place by the end of June.