By Chris Maza
LONGMEADOW – School Committee Vice Chair James Desrochers recently resigned from his position with more than a year remaining on his term, leaving the committee with a vacancy to fill.
The School Committee at its Feb. 4 meeting accepted Desrochers’s letter of resignation.
Desrochers served on the School Committee since Sept. 12, 2011, when he was appointed to fill a vacancy created by Gwen Bruns’ departure from the board. He won re-election to a three-year term at the 2012 Annual Town Election.
Committee Chair Michael Clark expressed sorrow in the loss of Desrochers, calling him an important part of the policy-making body.
“I’m sorry to see him go. He was a great addition to our board,” Clark told Reminder Publications. “He was someone who approached issues with a very different point of view and often brought a different perspective to our conversations. I hope whoever fills his seat will bring that same skill set to the table.
“This board needs someone like Jim Desrochers because it’s healthy for us to have varying perspectives and voices to continue functioning in the best interest of the district and the town,” he added.
School Committee Clerk Elizabeth Bone was unanimously voted the board’s new vice chair and Kimberly King was elected the new clerk with no opposition.
The School Committee opted to fill Desrochers’ seat prior to the 2014 Annual Town Election in order to take the burden off the existing members currently filling his roles on the various sub-committees and to prevent a voting deadlock that could result from a six-member board.
The Select Board and School Committee will meet at an undetermined date to interview candidates. Approximately a week later, the two boards will meet again to vote upon an appointment Those interested in applying for the temporary appointment may do so by submitting an application to the Select Board’s office at Town Hall by 4 p.m. on Feb. 20.
The appointment would run until the June 3 Annual Town Election at which candidates would vie for a one-year seat on the board, representing the remainder of Desrochers’s term.
The School Committee also temporarily filled his seat on numerous subcommittees. Desrochers was the committee’s representative on the School Building Committee, a role Clark has filled. He was also a member of the finance sub-committee, which will now be chaired by John Fitzgerald with Janet Robinson also joining; the operations subcommittee, which will continue as a two-member entity with King and Kathryn Girard; and capital planning, which Clark joined.