Whitesburg KY

Smith gets nod to lead Letcher board for 2014

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

These well-known lyrics from British rock band The Who do a good job of describing action taken by the Letcher County Board of Education at its January meeting Monday night.

One year after the board shocked many observers by selecting two newly-elected members to serve as its chairman and vice chairman, it’s members are now counting on veteran members to serve in leadership roles for 2014.

“It’s not exactly my first rodeo, but it will probably be my last,” new Board Chairman Will Smith said after being elected by four of his fellow board members to serve in the position he previously held for a number of years before stepping aside in January 2013. “I think we’ll have a good year. We’ve got some tough decisions to make.”

Former chairman Robert Kiser and Smith switched seats at the board’s meeting table Monday night after board voted four to one to approve Terry Cornett’s motion to place Smith back into the role as chairman. Board member Mendy Boggs cast the only vote against Cornett’s motion, which was seconded by Dr. Sam Quillen Jr. The board also named Cornett as vice chairman.

Smith, who has served on the school board for 21 years, has held the office of chairman for 13 years.

“This is an office that I didn’t seek, but I do accept it,” said Smith.” I appreciate you all for having confi dence in me that I can do the job.”

During a special meeting last week, Kiser had said that he had just finished a 112-hour workweek. Quillen said that maybe Kiser will get some relief from not having extra duties as chairman.

“I’d like to thank Robert for the good job he has done the past year coming in and taking over some tough decisions,” said Quillen. “He has done an outstanding job. He is overworked. He’s got a lot on his platter.”

Kiser and Boggs were elected to the board in November 2012 and sworn into office during a special meeting in January 2013. During Kiser’s first regular board meeting in January 2013, Cornett nominated Kiser for the office of chairman.

“We appreciate Robert,” said Cornett. “He has done a great job for us. I have actually kind of felt bad for him knowing the hours he puts in and he still probably puts in 40 hours a week as board chairman.”

Boggs, who served as vice chairman in 2013, told Kiser that he did a good job. Supt. Tony Sergent said he and Kiser worked well together and Sergent appreciates Kiser’s support.

Monday night Smith nominated Cornett for the position of vice chairman and Quillen seconded the motion. The board voted unanimously in favor of Cornett returning as vice chairman, a position he has served 14 times.

“Terry has been with the board 19 years and brings a lot of knowledge and experience to the board,” said Smith.

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