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Congdon supports board decision to seek judge’s ruling on residency

After a failed attempt by the Colonial Beach School Board to declare Anne Congdon’s position vacant, board Chairman Tim Trivett moved to file a Writ of Quo Warranto — a writ designed to test whether a person exercising power is legally entitled to do so.
Trivett outlined, for the record, the events leading up to this motion. Explaining that Congdon informed the board “some time ago” that she and her family may be moving to Northumberland County.

Trivett said that at the last School Board meeting, on Sept. 9, Congdon had informed the Board she had moved and had enrolled two of her children in the Northumberland school system and that one remained in Colonial Beach as a tuition student.

Trivett said the board acted on these statements and deemed her position vacant, citing State Code §22.1-29: “Each person appointed or elected to a school board shall, at the time of his appointment or election, be a qualified voter and a bona fide resident of the district from which he is selected if appointment or election is by district or of the school division if appointment or election is at large; and if he shall cease to be a resident of such district or school division, his position on the school board shall be deemed vacant.”

Congdon has maintained all along that she has moved due to hardship and still considers herself a resident of Colonial Beach and that her move is temporary while her house, which burned down in 2007, is being rebuilt.

Trivett reported that Congdon filed a writ challenging the board’s actions of Sept. 9 and won.
 “While we respectfully disagree with the court’s ruling on Ms. Congdon’s position, we do agree with the court that it is very important that the issue of Ms. Congdon’s residency be decided one way or the other, and be decided expeditiously,” Trivett said.

Trivett justified his motion by saying, “The school board is  called upon at every meeting to vote on significant matters related to students, employees and the school system as a whole. It is critical that these votes not be challenged and the actions of the Board be called into question because of the participation of a person who is later determined had vacated her position.”
Trivett went on to say that this action would help Congdon to not be in fear of her actions being challenged.

Trivett then asked that the board adopt a motion requesting the Commonwealth’s Attorney to file a petition of Quo Warranto as soon as possible so this important matter can be resolved one way or the other.

When the matter was voted on, Patrice Lyburn abstained and all others voted in favor, including Anne Congdon.

Congdon has maintained that legislation allows a School Board member the right to maintain her position on the board when moving out of the district is a result of hardship.

Linda Farneth

 

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