The Wake County Board of Education spent more than two hours electing its officers Tuesday.
The election of board chair went through easily; current board chair Ron Margiotta was re-elected with five votes against Kevin Hill’s four votes.
But the vote for the role of vice chair turned into a game of chicken, with 56 separate secret votes called until current Vice-Chair Deborah Goldman blinked.
With Republican Margiotta unable to vote, all four Democrats rallied behind Keith Sutton. Remaining Republicans splintered, with one, two or three votes going to Chris Malone, Deborah Prickett, Debra Goldman or John Tedesco, depending on the round.
Republicans even offered up the lame-duck Democrats Anne McLaurin and Carolyn Morrison in some rounds.
John Tedesco finally began to consistently garner three votes in the 23rd round, with Debra Goldman earning the one remaining vote for 12 rounds.
Despite the limited power of the position, Republican Goldman — who has frustrated the conservative board majority’s agenda on occasion, including in their move toward neighborhood schools in the beginning of 2010 — continued to vote for herself for more than two hours with no support from her colleagues.
Board Policy 1200 outlines the duties of the vice chair: “The Vice-Chairperson will perform duties assigned by the Chairperson. In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson of the Board will assume all the rights and responsibilities of the Chairperson.”
“I don’t know what kind of statement somebody is trying to make,” Hill said, during the second of two recesses.
Just before she shifted her vote to conservative board member Tedesco, Goldman made a statement explaining her decision.
“I’m going to cast my vote different this time because this is vote 56, and that’s the year my parents got married and for me that symbolizes unity,” she said. “I cast my vote this time and take myself out of that position.”
With a 4-4 tie between Sutton and Tedesco, Margiotta cast the deciding vote in favor of Tedesco.