Pruski's exit from school board for County Council run leaves seat unfilled

Anne Arundel County school board member Andrew Pruski, who recently won the Democratic nomination for a County Council seat, announced his resignation from the board Wednesday, citing a state law prohibiting candidates from appearing on a general election ballot simultaneously for more than one paid position.

Anne Arundel County school board members receive a $6,000 stipend, while County Council members are paid $36,000, officials said.

Pruski has served as an at-large member of the appointed board since 2009, when Gov. Martin O'Malley selected him to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Tricia Johnson. O'Malley reappointed Pruski to a five-year term last year. State law requires a school board member to be subject to a retention vote after appointment to the board, meaning Pruski's name would have appeared on the November general election ballot.

But Pruski won the Democratic primary for the District 4 County Council seat in the June 24 primary and will face Republican E. "Chike" Anyanwu in the November election. Pruski's resignation is effective Aug. 1, and his departure will leave the board with eight members.

Pruski said he will honor current school board commitments — which include taking part in redistricting matters and speaking at public meetings — then he'll leave so that the county's School Board Nominating Commission can work on a replacement.

Anne Arundel school board members are chosen via a commission that forwards its selections to the governor.

But school officials said that while the commission can make selections, the governor's office cannot make appointments except in emergencies. Officials said the governor's office cited a provision in the state constitution prohibiting a governor who is ineligible for another term from making an executive appointment during the period between the primary election and the succeeding governor's inauguration.

That means O'Malley is prohibited from naming an appointment for Pruski's seat as of last month's primary election.

Still, Pruski said in a letter to O'Malley, "I believe that tendering my resignation at this time is in the best interest of the citizens of Anne Arundel County. My hope is that the School Board Nominating Commission, which is required to provide you or your successor with names of candidates to fill my seat, will quickly and earnestly begin its work to find a replacement for my seat."

School officials say a similar situation exists for the at-large seat currently held by board member Kevin Jackson, whose five-year term officially ended June 30. Jackson will continue to serve in that seat until a new appointment is made by the next governor, the governor's office said.

The nominating commission has forwarded the names of Jackson and Laurel resident Julie Hummer to the governor for consideration for that seat.

School officials said former board President Teresa Milio Birge recently wrote a letter on behalf of the board requesting the governor make an emergency appointment for Jackson's seat, arguing that an appointment by the next governor would mean county residents would have to wait until 2016 for a retention vote.

School officials said newly appointed board President Stacy Korbelak will write a similar letter to the governor's office next week.

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