Dropping Out

Falconer Board Position Vacated Due To Absence

The Falconer Board of Educated vacated board member Jennifer Olson’s position effective immediately on Tuesday. During a regular meeting, board members approved a resolution detailing Olson official declaration of vacancy. P-J photos by Jordan W. Patterson

FALCONER — After missing four consecutive Falconer Central School Board of Education meetings, Jennifer Olson’s board member position was officially vacated at a meeting Tuesday that leaves the board 90 days to fill the vacancy.

Olson was elected on May 16, 2017, to a five-year term from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2022.

Todd Beckerink, board president, read the resolution that detailed the alleged events leading to Olson’s dismissal. The board meetings Olson missed were held on Sept. 4, Sept. 18, Oct. 2 and Oct. 16. Olson was also not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

Beckerink said no excuse was provided to the board regarding the absences. However, the declaration of vacancy letter stated Olson previously indicated her intent to resign from the board through a text message that was sent to board members and Superintendent Stephen Penhollow on Sept. 5. On Sept. 17, Olson allegedly created a post on Facebook stating the same intent she texted about weeks earlier.

The board’s approval to vacate Olson’s position followed protocol under New York State Education Law and the district’s board policy, Beckerink said. The procedure under those policies determines that a board member’s position can be vacated if they refuse or neglect to attend three successive meetings without providing an excuse or by publicly declaring intent to resign.

On Nov. 1, the board notified Olson that her position would be vacated during Tuesday’s meeting. Olson responded by indicating she had read and received the notification and implied she would return her key fob to the middle-high school building.

The seven-member board of education now only has six active members. The six members will have to decide how they will proceed during subsequent meetings as a decision was not finalized Tuesday.

After the resolution was approved, Penhollow detailed the potential options the board had regarding filling the vacancy. The board could potentially appoint a qualified candidate from the community, a previous board member, the runner-up in the last board election – in this case a write-in candidate who wasn’t identified at the meeting – or hold a special election allowing the community to vote on who would step into the vacant position.

If an individual is appointed by the board, they would serve as a board member until the next board election in May when that position would then be up for a vote. That individual would have the opportunity to run for election for any position up for election.

If the vacancy was filled through a special election, the elected individual would be appointed to Olson’s remaining term immediately.

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