Newly-elected school board member steps down before first meeting

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

A new member of the Greencastle-Antrim School District school board resigned before attending his first meeting.

Todd Kirkwood, a Republican who garnered the most votes in the Nov. 5 general election, submitted his resignation at the Nov. 21 board meeting. President Brian Hissong read the letter to the board and audience. It was effective that night. Kirkwood wrote that it was due to his occupation as a federal employee, which under the Hatch Act of 1939 and the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012 made him ineligible to serve as a school director.

Kirkwood, who crossfiled and appeared as a Republican and Democrat on the ballot, received 1,345 votes, followed by Hissong, 1,184, Linda Farley, 1,111, and Lura Hanks, 1,010. Hissong is the only incumbent. The other three took the places of Joel Fridgen, Mike Shindle and William Thorne, who did not file for re-election.

Kirkwood ran on a team with Ronald Powers, Jim Winslow and Edward Jackson, who earned Democratic nominations. Their respective vote totals were 825, 706 and 667.

Legal ruling

The Hatch Act of 1939 is officially called An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities. It was designed to prevent employees in the executve branch of the federal government from engaging in partisan political activity. The 2012 amended version modified penalties for violations. There is some application to U.S. military personnel. Kirkwood works for the 167th Airlift Wing, W. Va. Air National Guard.

“I appreciate and accept the efforts and conclusions of Ms. Kim R. Smith, Esquire and the U.S. Attorney’s office concerning my eligibility as a Title 32 Federal Employee,” he wrote. “After much consideration and review by the aforementioned offices, it was determined I am not eligible to be a board member.”

Smith is an attorney who works with G-ASD on personnel issues.

Appointment

The school board will accept letters of interest from people who would like to serve on the board for a two year term. Board members will publicly interview candidates at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 during a special meeting in the middle school library, and make the appointment that evening. The person can run for re-election in 2015 to complete the four year term.

Letters may be sent by Dec. 11 to G-ASD Administration, c/o Brian Hissong, 500 E. Leitersburg St., Greencastle PA 17225.

Hissong said by law, the appointment had to be made within 30 days of the resignation.