COEUR d'ALENE - Sid Fredrickson, chair of the Coeur d'Alene school board, resigned Monday during the board's annual organizational meeting. Fredrickson made the announcement following a vote that removed him from any leadership role on the board.
"All of you know that this is my last year on the board. I do not intend to seek re-election in May," Fredrickson said, according to CDATV Channel 19's video recording of Monday's meeting. "To say that I am somewhat dumbfounded by the fact that I feel this is a vote of no confidence on my last year as chair, I am going to resign effective immediately, and pass the gavel to Mr. Hamilton."
The motion that resulted in Fredrickson's removal from the board chair position was made by Trustee Jim Purtee.
Purtee's motion was to move Trustee Tom Hamilton into the role of chair.
The motion passed with a vote of 3-1-1, with trustees Purtee, Terri Seymour and Ann Seddon in favor, and Fredrickson opposed. Hamilton abstained.
The board then voted 4-1 to place Purtee in the vice-chair's position. Fredrickson again cast the lone dissenting vote.
"I really was hoping I could finish out my last year as chair," Fredrickson told The Press. "It just wasn't acceptable."
Fredrickson, the senior board member in his 11th year as a school trustee, had served as chair since February, when a judge nullified then-chair Wanda Quinn's 2011 appointment to the board. Hamilton was elected by the board in February to serve as vice-chair.
Fredrickson, who is the city of Coeur d'Alene's wastewater superintendent, began serving on the school board in 2002, when he was appointed. He was then elected to a three-year term in 2005. In 2008, he was elected to another three-year term, but the 2009 passage of Idaho's election consolidation bill extended Fredrickson's term to five years, until June 30, 2013.
In contrast, the remaining four board members are all relatively new.
"There are some philosophical differences between us, there's no doubt about that," Fredrickson said.
Hamilton and Seymour won their seats by election in May 2011 and just completed their first year serving on the board.
Purtee has been on the board since April, when he was appointed to fill the vacancy left in 2011 by Edie (Brooks) McLachlan.
Seddon was appointed in May to fill a vacancy left by Diane Zipperer, another longtime board member who resigned in April.
Fredrickson said he felt he worked well with Trustee Tom Hamilton, that they agreed on most issues.
"But we've got three other board members. I can't sit here and pretend to know the basic philosophy of the new ones, because I don't, but I'm sure there's going to be some conflict that comes up," Fredrickson said.
The board chair and vice-chair develop the meeting agendas.
"I didn't want to lose that ability. The only course of action that I felt I had was to resign," Fredrickson said.
Hamilton told The Press he is grateful for Fredrickson's years of service, and Fredrickson's willingness to mentor him.
"From day one, Sid extended a welcoming hand, and helped me get my feet under me as a new board member," Hamilton said.
Hamilton said he didn't see "vast philosophical differences" between himself and Fredrickson.
"I would have liked to have seen him finish his term, but I understand he has his reasons for doing this," Hamilton said.
Fredrickson is aware there are those who are critical of him for not sticking it out for the final year of his term.
"If you don't like who's being elected, get out and vote," Fredrickson said, pointing to the low turnout of 21 percent of the county's registered voters in May's primary election.
"That's shameful," Fredrickson said.
The board is expected to officially accept Fredrickson's resignation during their next scheduled meeting on July 23 at 5 p.m. at the Midtown Center. At that meeting the board will consider the next steps necessary to declare a vacancy and develop a process to appoint a successor to fill the remainder of Fredrickson's term through June 2013.