Vacancy leaves room for write-in
Reopel ends school board candidacy, cites health issues
May 31, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — For the first time in at least 10 years, there will be a vacant line on the School Committee ballot in June.
Citing health issues, candidate Roger Reopel backed out of running for the seat being vacated by Mary Ellen Prencipe, whose term is ending. That leaves incumbent Scott Lazo alone and will require either a write-in contest or an appointment after election day to fill the seat.
"I went all the way to 2000, and there's nothing — always a full boat," said Town Clerk Madaline Daoust after reviewing the recent history. She noted there have occasionally been vacant ballots for other elected offices —this year, for example, there are no Redevelopment Authority candidates, and Bay Path School Committee had none last year — but not School Committee or Town Council.
Under the charter, if nobody gets elected June 29, the council and School Committee must meet to jointly appoint someone to the vacant seat until next year's election. If someone wins as a write-in and gets at least five votes, however, that person will have the seat for the full three-year term. (As an example, the Rev. Peter Preble won the Bay Path seat last year by write-in after expressing interest in the seat primarily by using Facebook.)
Daoust said she first heard Reopel was backing out Wednesday, and predicted it will spark "a lot of jockeying" behind the scenes to fill the seat.
Reopel did not return a message seeking comment, although a woman answering when called for a previous story said he's been suffering "severe back pain."
See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.