School Board Urges Quick Member Appointment


The remaining Payson school board members Monday night urged county schools Superintendent Linda O’Dell to quickly appoint a replacement for former member Richard Meyer, who resigned earlier this month.

O’Dell remained non-committal, telling board members that she both appreciated their input, but also telling them she was “very interested” in seeing who voters choose in November. O’Dell currently plans on waiting until after November’s election to start the appointment process.

Board member Rory Huff said the board wanted to have its fifth member appointed in time for all members to attend an Arizona School Boards Association conference in early December.

“That would really hamstring the new member if they didn’t go to that conference,” said Huff.

“That is a truly good reason,” said O’Dell, “so you can get your team together.”

Board member Viki Holmes also wanted a new member appointed quickly because she worried about problems reaching a quorum. Member Matt Van Camp missed Monday’s meeting, which along with the vacancy, meant that the board barely had enough members for a legal vote.

Member Barbara Underwood asked if O’Dell would think about appointing whoever loses November’s school board election. Three people are running for two vacant spots.

O’Dell said she was “not inclined,” to that option, although the losing candidate can apply for the vacancy.

O’Dell said county school chiefs from around the state recently met and discussed the appointing process because they want to make it more consistent across the state. She has borrowed ideas from Pinal County’s school superintendent, and wants to make her process more rigorous.

First, she will advertise the vacancy, and then people can submit letters of interest. A committee will interview each candidate, assessing their skills in areas including finance and curriculum. O’Dell said the interview process will include the more rigorous component borrowed from Pinal County.

“I’m going to do my very best,” said O’Dell, to “appoint a person I believe will be a good fit for your board and for your district.”

School board members have until early October to recommend up to three people they think might fit well on the board. The person appointed will serve the remainder of Meyer’s term, until 2012.


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