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Happel picked for Chambersburg School Board

January 04, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - It took only one ballot Wednesday to fill one of two vacancies as the Chambersburg School Board voted 4-3 to appoint former board member Joel Happel to fill the seat vacated last month by the resignation of Craig Musser.

Happel, 55, who represented Region 9 from 1995 to 1999, edged Anne Gotwals Boryan, whose mother once served on the board. Happel will serve the remainder of Musser's term, but said he has "no aspirations of running in the primary or seeking election."

Musser, who was board president, resigned Dec. 6, saying he wanted to devote more time to his family and career. On Dec. 20, the board interviewed three candidates and deadlocked on three ballots between Boryan and Harold Fosnot Jr., who served 16 years on the board.

The board decided to extend the time period for submission of letters of interest to Jan. 2 and Happel was the only new applicant. On Dec. 24, Region 1 board member Paul Ambrose died unexpectedly, leaving the board with seven members.

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Wednesday night, board members Stanley Helman, Fred Rice and Norman Blowers, who had voted for Fosnot on Dec. 20, cast their votes for Happel. They were joined by board member David Sciamanna, who voted for Boryan last time.

Board President Thomas Orndorf, Vice President Renee Sharpe and board member Lori Leedy voted for Boryan again.

"I just find it astounding that four of you since the last meeting changed your votes and elected the person who seemed least interested in the job," said Alan Kohler, co-president of the Parent Advisory Council.

"I'm interested in the position. I'm interested in doing a good job," Happel said. "While I'm here, I'll do the best job I can."

As Fosnot, Boryan and Clarence Neil did two weeks ago, Happel fielded seven questions during his interview.

"Since the school board was deadlocked, I thought I might be a viable alternative," Happel said.

He credited the current board for building larger schools as part of its elementary consolidation program. His biggest disappointment with the board, he said, was its inability to progress further with its secondary program.

Happel, who has a plumbing and heating business, said he is interested in the future of the district's career and technology program.

"It's a coin flip. I don't know," Fosnot said when asked if he plans to run for the seat.

"I'm still planning to run and, of course, I'm disappointed I wasn't chosen," Boryan said.

The board will now turn its attention to filling the Region 1 seat. The district will advertise for letters of interest and will hold interviews and a vote Jan. 25.

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