"You are still a board member," Siddiqui said, adding that Dyer "still must comply" with board protocol.

"Board governance does not say that I have to sit in my chair," said Dyer.

"No, but it's disruptive to get up and down …" she said, and left the room.

Since the board voted to oust Dyer, many residents have weighed in on the matter — and how it might affect the county's image.

"There is a feeling of sadness where everyone thinks that there are so many other issues to focus on," said Chaun Hightower, president of the PTA Council of Howard County.

Hightower said that after the school board vote, she and a group of parents held an impromptu meeting to discuss the matter. "Around the room," she said, "there were people in support of Dyer who felt his voice was being restrained and those who believe that the board is taking the right steps."

Ellicott City resident Christine Daugherty is among those who object to Dyer's practices. "He needs to go," she said. "He pulls strings and then wants to turn around and act as if things are being done to him."

But for the Elkridge residents who had their questions posed during the work session, Dyer is seen as a man of the people.

"He's got my vote," said Elkridge resident Becky Kimball. "This is about the people, and I understand procedure, but it's not like the auditorium was filled with an angry mob. It would have been nice if [the school board] would have been considerate and given us 10 minutes of time."

"He's not a bobblehead," added Suzanne Straub of Elkridge. "I felt like he wanted to listen to what we had to say and he didn't care what they said."

When asked later about the Elkridge residents' comments, Siddiqui replied, "His approach is wrong. We are all here, all the board members are here for every citizen for the county, every district, every single community and we represent all the community members."

Asked whether there is a public perception that Dyer has become the voice of the people on the school board, Siddiqui replied, "It is a perception, and sometimes that perception is a wrong perception. In different circumstances, he may behave differently."

Although the removal of a sitting school board member is rare, it is not without precedent.

In 2007, Talbot County school board member Maryann Judy was removed at the request of fellow board members, who accused her of submitting a backdated evaluation of Superintendent Karen Salmon after missing the submission deadline. She had been appointed to the board in 2003.

Already citizens are considering how the Dyer controversy might affect next year's school board elections, when three of the seven seats will be at stake. The primary is slated for April.

"If [the request to remove Dyer] is upheld, the board will be happy and someone will take his place eventually," said Rich Corkran, a retired Howard County school teacher. "If it's not upheld then they will have to work with him until 2012 and conceivably another term if he gets reelected."

Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie contributed to this article.

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts