MANCHESTER, NH – Despite five rounds of voting, the Manchester Board of Aldermen could not come to a consensus on a replacement member for the Manchester Board of School Committee.
According to the Rules of the Board of Aldermen, a candidate requires eight votes from the Aldermen to obtain confirmation, with none of the four candidates nominated to the position receiving those necessary eight votes on Tuesday night.
In the first round of voting, Dan O’Neil, Tim Baines, Barbara Shaw and William Shea voted for former Alderman Pat Long. Elizabeth Moreau, Anthony Sapienza, Joseph Kelly Levasseur, Keith Hirschmann and Bill Barry voted for former Board of School Committee member Debra Gagnon-Langton, while the votes of Will Stewart, Kevin Cavanaugh and Christopher Herbert went to former Central High School principal John Rist. John Cataldo cast the lone vote for local resident Michael Porter.
In the second round, Cataldo, Herbert and Stewart changed their votes, with Cataldo switching his support to Gagnon-Langton and Herbert and Stewart supporting Long.
With the exception of Cavanaugh’s switch from Rist to Long in the third round, the votes remained the same, with Long one vote short of obtaining the required eight votes needed due to the absence of Normand Gamache.
If any of the votes had ended in a tie among all the candidates, the mayor could have cast the tie-breaking vote under the Aldermen’s rules. However, this could not occur in the second round due to the vote for Rist, or the third round due to the extra vote for Long.
At this point, Shea requested to table the vote, believing only Gamache could either break the deadlock or allow a tie so the mayor could cast her vote.
Sapienza spoke against that motion, citing the decision’s delay from the September meeting, and the Aldermen agreed by an 8-5 vote, with Shea, Levasseur, O’Neil, Moreau and Hirschmann in opposition.
All 13 aldermen in attendance repeated their votes in the fourth and fifth rounds, leading to another request to table the vote, this time by Levasseur.
The second tabling vote was approved without a roll call, but not unanimously.
Earlier in the evening, Long and Porter made comments before the board, with Porter praising all four candidates.
“All four candidates are very well qualified,” he said. “No matter what happens, we all need to move forward.”