ERIE - Facing a recall election in three weeks, Mason Consolidated Schools board member and outgoing president Donald Pearce has unexpectedly resigned.
Mr. Pearce, whose term on the board of education was to expire in 2011, announced his resignation at Monday night's organizational meeting.
He and board members Kenneth Sieg, Sandra Dobbs, and Wynne Phillips are being targeted in a special recall election scheduled for Aug. 4.
The recall effort stems from action taken by the board that led to the termination in February of long-time school employee and Middle School principal Thomas McGarry.
Mr. Pearce, who has been a board member since 1999, read his resignation letter to the other board members and the audience after participating in the 7-0 vote that made Mrs. Dobbs board president.
In the letter, Mr. Pearce accused a small group of "self-serving, ignorant people" of fostering hate and discontent and doing "nothing more than complain."
"They don't offer a solution and they don't offer to get involved to help fix the problem," he said. "They just want to complain about it."
After reading the letter, Mr. Pearce immediately left the meeting and didn't participate in board action to elect the secretary and treasurer.
He could not be reached for comment.
Kay Axel, the mother of two elementary students, started the recall campaign.
She and others met a May 1 deadline to get the recall of the elected officials on the ballot. The Monroe County clerk certified in June that the group had collected enough valid signatures on the petitions.
While calling Mr. Pearce's resignation a "step in the right direction," Mrs. Axel urged the other school officials targeted in the recall to follow his example.
"I am pleased for the community. I would be more pleased if the other three members would do the same. I think that perhaps Mr. Pearce finally came to the realization that it was the honorable thing to do and it is what the community wants," she said.
Superintendent David Drewyor said Mr. Pearce will be missed because of the institutional knowledge he has gained from the decade of experience he had as a board member.
"He will be dearly missed," he said.
Mr. Drewyor said Jacki Clark, who ran unsuccessfully for a school board seat in May, had submitted an application yesterday to replace Mr. Pearce.
Mrs. Axel said she plans to apply for the vacancy.
Applications to replace Mr. Pearce will be taken until July 22.
A special board meeting has been scheduled for July 27 to interview candidates and potentially to vote for a Mr. Pearce's replacement.
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