Two Nome school board members recalled

NOME: One targeted member holds on to seat by only two votes.

May 26, 2010 

Vote counts from Tuesday's balloting show that Nome voters have recalled two of the city's five school board members, the city clerk said Wednesday.

Petitioners pushed for the recall after the board voted 3-2 against re-hiring two administrators at the junior-senior high school.

Two of the board members who voted against renewing the contracts -- Albert McComas and Heather Payenna -- were recalled. Another, Kirsten Timbers, kept her job by two votes, according to the city clerk's office.

Petitioners accused the board of breaking public meeting rules and board policy in its handling of the contracts. Voters were asked whether they wanted to retain each of the five members.

The results, according to the city clerk's office:

• Heather Payenna: Recalled by a vote of 479-471.

• Board President Gloria Karmun: Not recalled, 447-495.

• Albert McComas: Recalled, 491-467.

• Barb Nickels: Not recalled, 362-580.

• Kirsten Timbers: Not recalled, 476-478.

About 40 percent of eligible voters -- or 976 people -- cast ballots, said city clerk Sandy Babcock. That's a high turnout for a municipal election, she said. "We usually get between 600 and 700 voters."

All the questioned and absentee ballots have been counted, according to the city. Given how close some of the votes were, the city planned to conduct an electronic recount, Babcock said. "We're going to run them through the machine again."

Voters can also request a re-count by hand -- something Babcock says is likely. "I have already had inquiries from people," she said.

The remaining three board members will select replacement members, who will likely serve until the next citywide election in October, said Karmun, the board president.

The board will rank applicants based on their answers to questions at a public meeting -- to be held as early as next month, Karmun said.

Read The Village, the ADN's blog about rural Alaska, at Twitter updates: Call Kyle Hopkins at 257-4334.

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