‘Show of hands’

Published 9:25 am Thursday, October 13, 2011

WINDSOR – The Bertie County Board of Education will move forward with voting in what has become their traditional manner.

For several years, the board has taken an actual show of hands when they vote on a matter and the body decided last week that is their preferred method.

School Board Attorney Rod Malone requested the board make a decision concerning Board Policy 1430 because the one posted on the school district’s website was still in draft form.

“It is difficult for me to determine exactly how this was intended to read,” Malone said.

Policy 1430 deals with how board members cast their votes. It says, in part, that board members will raise their hands if they are in favor of a motion, but was unclear about how those opposed were to vote.

It has been the practice of Board Chair Gloria Lee and her two most recent predecessors – Rickey Freeman and Emma Johnson – to ask those opposed to vote by raising their hands.

“In a show of hands voting, the question shall be put substantially as follows: “Those in favor raise your hand” and after the affirmative vote is expressed, “those opposed” after which the chair shall announce the result,” the policy reads.

Malone said the wording could be accurate if it was simply inferred that the board members opposed to the motion were to raise their hands in the same manner as those in favor.

Lee said she had not been consistent about asking for those in opposition to a motion to raise their hands, but felt that was the appropriate course of action.

The current policy had a strikeout over the word “no” for those opposed.

Malone asked if any board member remembered the policy being adopted and if the words that were struck out had been officially removed.

Freeman said he believed the policy was adopted and that he knew the board had operated under the idea that those opposed were to raise their hands when asked for their vote.

All board members agreed that the policy was correct and Malone said he would update it and forward the policy to Bertie County Schools Public Information Officer Brent Todd for inclusion on the website.

At the end of the discussion, Vice Chair Pamela Chamblee asked if Malone would explain why the school board does not require a second vote motions, but the commissioners do.

Malone said the school board operates under small board rules, which allows for votes to come to the floor on a simple motion. He said it also allows the chair to vote on all matters that come before them.

“There have been questions in the past and I wanted it made clear we are following the policy adopted by the board,” Chamblee said.

Malone said the board was indeed following policy adopted for voting.