BANGOR, Maine — Shortly after their counterparts on the City Council wrestled for an hour to select a new chairman, members of the Bangor School Committee made their decision in about five seconds on Monday.
For the fourth consecutive year, Phyllis Guerette was picked to chair the seven-member committee. Christine Szal was selected to serve as vice chairwoman. Both votes were unanimous.
For more than two decades, the Bangor School Committee has known only two chairwomen. Guerette’s predecessor, Martha Newman, led the school committee for 17 consecutive years before she stepped down in 2007.
Guerette said that from her perspective, having consistent leadership is a positive.
“Studies have shown that in education, steady leadership produces results,” she said Monday.
Guerette said the biggest challenge going into next year would be the budget, particularly now that one-time federal stimulus funding is no longer available to plug some holes.
Before the vote, new school committee members Jay Ye and Kate Dickerson also were sworn in. The two first-time members were elected last week to fill open seats. Longtime school committee member Phyllis Shubert did not seek re-election, and one-term member Mary Budd was unsuccessful in her re-election bid.
Nichi Farnham, who is in the middle of a three-year term on the school committee, was elected last Tuesday to represent Penobscot County in the state Senate. Farnham bested longtime Bangor legislator Joseph Perry to help Republicans take back control of the Legislature.
A former Bangor city councilor and chairwoman, Farnham said she plans to continue serving on the Bangor School Committee as long as her schedule in Augusta allows.