Citing the prohibition on appearing on the general election ballot as a County Council candidate and a candidate for retention vote as a Board Member simultaneously, Andrew Pruski today announced his resignation from the Board, effective August 1, 2014.
Pruski said he had submitted a letter of resignation this morning to Governor Martin O’Malley, who first appointed Pruski to his at-large seat to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Tricia Johnson in 2009. O’Malley reappointed Pruski to a full five-year term in 2013.
State law requires a Board Member to stand for a retention vote in the general election following his or her appointment to the Board. Thus, Pruski’s name would have appeared on the November ballot for that retention vote. The Four Seasons resident, however, also won the Democratic primary for the District 4 County Council seat in the June 24 primary election, and will face Republican Chike Anyanwu in the general election.
Pruski’s resignation will leave the Board with just eight members. In his resignation letter, Pruski thanked the governor for the opportunity to serve on the Board and said he hopes his seat will be filled as soon as possible.
“I believe that tendering my resignation at this time is in the best interest of the citizens of Anne Arundel County” Pruski wrote. “My hope is that the School Board Nominating Commission, which is required to provide you or your successor with names of candidates to fill my seat, will quickly and earnestly begin its work to find a replacement for my seat.”
The governor’s office has said it is currently unable to make appointments to fill Board seats. It has cited as its reason a provision in the Maryland Constitution stating that a governor ineligible to continue in office generally may not appoint a person, except on an emergency basis, to a term of office in the Executive Branch of State Government when that term begins during the period between a primary election and the inauguration of the succeeding governor. The move of this year’s primary from September to June means that no appointment can be made for Pruski’s seat, the governor’s office said.
A similar situation exists for the at-large seat currently held by Board Member Kevin Jackson. Jackson’s five-year term officially ended June 30, but he will continue to serve in that seat until a new appointment is made by the next governor, the governor’s office said. The School Board Nominating Commission has forwarded the names of Jackson and Laurel resident Julie Hummer to the governor for consideration for that seat.
Board President Teresa Milio Birge wrote to the governor on behalf of the Board this week, urging him to make an emergency appointment for Mr. Jackson’s seat. In her letter, Birge argued that an appointment by the next governor would unfairly force county voters to wait until November 2016 – the first general election after such an appointment – to exercise their right to a retention vote for a Board member. She said she plans to write the governor again, making the same appeal, in light of Pruski’s resignation.