Mike Pate starts slow, wins Millard school board presidency after 44 votes

Mike Pate


It took 44 secret ballots Monday night for the Millard school board to elect a new board president.

For an hour, the six board members couldn’t agree on who should lead them and Nebraska’s third-largest school district.

Linda Poole, a teacher, and Mike Kennedy, a lawyer, were the favorites for the post, but neither garnered the requisite four votes.

After 17 tries, current board President Dave Anderson asked, “Anyone want to give a speech?”

No one did.

After 40 ballots and still no president, the board suspended the voting temporarily to recognize two employees of the month. They received plaques and applause.

“Now, back to the drama,” Superintendent Keith Lutz said.

The voting resumed.

Board members repeatedly split the same way: three votes for Poole, two for Kennedy and one for Mike Pate.

The audience, which included Boy Scouts earning a citizenship badge, released an “oooh” as the late rounds showed Pate starting to pick up votes. He ultimately won the presidency, with a vote of 4-2. Poole and Kennedy each received one vote.

Pate, a bank president, said it was the longest board election he’d experienced.

“That’s quite a process,” he said.

Though the longest in recent memory, the process didn’t break the district record of 56 ballots, Lutz said.

Afterward, Poole said the vote doesn’t mean there’s a sharp divide on the board.

“It’s just something that happens,” she said.

Selection of the other board officers went more smoothly. Members took five ballots to select Pat Ricketts as vice president, and just one each to name Kennedy as secretary and Anderson treasurer.

New board member Paul Meyer was sworn in at the meeting.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1077, joe.dejka@owh.com

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