School board to fill empty two-year seat tonight

Note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that if the Board of Education is unable to elect a replacement for the vacant school board seat within 30 days, the first selectman will choose the candidate to fill the position. By town charter, it is the full Board of Selectmen that choose the candidate.

Some election results seem to just never go away.

That’s the case this year in Ridgefield, where the ripple effects of November’s municipal election are still being felt a month later.

The Board of Education will bring closure to voters at its meeting Monday, Dec. 11, when it votes to fill a vacant two-year seat that was won by newly elected member Carina Borgia-Drake on Nov. 7.

Borgia-Drake also won a four-year seat on Election Day 2017, which she opted to fill instead of the two-year term.

“Currently there are four people interested in the open seat,” said board Chairwoman Fran Walton in an email to The Press.

If the board is unable to find a replacement for the seat within 30 days of the resignation, the full Board of Selectmen will fill the position by a majority vote, according to the Town Charter.

“The process, as I understand it, is that we have a notice in the paper for two consecutive printings — one went in before Thanksgiving, and one will be in this Thursday’s Press,” Walton said at the board’s Nov. 27 meeting.

The board’s meeting Monday will start at 6 p.m., and will include interviews of all the candidates who applied for the seat.

The board will then go into a private, executive session to discuss the various candidates, before returning to public session to vote on the candidates.

It’s been a long month

Filling the two-year school board vacancy will bring the town’s post-election chaos to a close more than a month after deliberations began on election night 2017.

In this year’s election, Democrats took majorities on the Board of Education, as well as the Zoning Board of Appeals and Zoning Board of Assessment Appeals. All three were previously dominated by Republicans.

The school board was left with a vacant two-year seat after Borgia-Drake, a Democrat, won both a four-year seat and a two-year seat. She resigned the two-year seat the week after the election because of a provision in the town charter that prevents an elected official from holding more than one office.

Borgia-Drake took her four-year seat on the board at the Monday, Nov. 27, meeting, alongside fellow Democrat and newcomer Kathleen Holz.

“Thank you for volunteering to run, hope it’s going to be a fun ride,” Walton said.

‘We want to do it’

Per the town charter, a candidate for the vacant seat must be a registered member of the same party as the board member who resigned the seat, and must be a resident of Ridgefield.

At the Nov. 27 meeting, Walton said she had not yet received any applications of candidates interested in the two-year seat.

“Get your résumés in — pronto,” Walton said. “Because otherwise, Rudy gets to pick somebody.”

“And we want to do it,” Walton added, in a mock whisper.