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Published: Tuesday, 10/12/2004

Pittsfield school chief leaves post after arrest


The president of the Pittsfield Area school board in Hillsdale County has resigned after his arrest on solicitation and prostitution charges last week in Lenawee County.

Michael Maier of Jefferson Township, in a letter delivered Thursday to Superintendent Richard Satterlee, said he was leaving the board because of a change in his work schedule, Mr. Satterlee said.

On Wednesday, Mr. Maier turned himself in to Adrian Township police, who issued a warrant for his arrest on Tuesday. He was released on his personal recognizance; no date has been set for his arraignment in Lenawee District Court.

Township police Chief Jerry Haensler said Mr. Maier, who is in his early 40s, left his phone number and a message seeking sex from men on a restroom wall at Bicentennial Park, a popular family picnic area and sports complex off Tipton Highway two miles north of Adrian.

Park visitors had complained about such messages, so Chief Haensler said he assigned an undercover officer to investigate. The officer established contact with Mr. Maier in late August, and the two exchanged messages over several weeks before meeting at an undisclosed location on Sept. 23. At that time, Mr. Maier was told of the charges and that his case was being turned over to the county prosecutor, the chief said.

Chief Haensler said no other arrests have been made in the sting operation. "We're hoping it will stop now," he said.

Mr. Satterlee said rumors aside, he was not sure why Mr. Maier resigned.

"I know he has some other problems, but I don't know if that's the reason," he said.

Mr. Maier had served on the board since 1996 and was re-elected to a four-year term in 2002.

Mr. Satterlee said the seven-member board will move quickly to fill Mr. Maier's position. The board will begin accepting applications immediately and start interviewing candidates Nov. 1. A special meeting will be held soon after to select Mr. Maier's replacement, who will serve until the next board election, in May. At that point, someone will have to run for Mr. Maier's seat but will only serve one year, when Mr. Maier's four-year-term expires.

"It's unfortunate," Mr. Satterlee said of Mr. Maier's resignation, "but we're going to move forward now."

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