City reappoints Steckler to school board

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 24, 2000

The Natchez Board of Aldermen reappointed David Steckler to the Natchez-Adams School Board Tuesday night, but two board members abstained from voting.

Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux and Ward 4 Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West also abstained from votes on appointments to the library board and the board of water commissioners, both suggestions of Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot;&160;Brown. Those appointments passed as well.

West’s and Arceneaux’s abstentions are counted as &uot;yes&uot; votes.

Email newsletter signup

Ward 5 Alderman David Massey recommended Steckler be reappointed. Massey said Steckler’s appointment had been put off since March.

Before the vote, West said although he believes Steckler has done a tremendous job as a school board member, he wanted all board members to be present for the vote.

Ward 2 Alderman George &uot;Shake&uot; Harden was out of town and unable to make the meeting.

&uot;It think it’s too important an appointment to vote without full board participation,&uot; West said.

School board members serve five-year terms.

Arceneaux said she abstained from voting on the school board appointment because she wants to wait until the city and county consider a different plan for appointing school board members.

She also said Gov. Ronnie Musgrove hopes to push through legislation that would make all school board in the state elected.

&uot;When we were campaigning, the NAACP&160;had some questions about the process for appointing school board members,&uot; Arceneaux said. &uot;I said I would be willing to give our appointments to the county.&uot;

The board of aldermen went on record last year supporting an elected school board, with Ward 3 Alderwoman Sue Stedman the only dissenting vote.

Still, neither a lawsuit against the city and county nor state legislation has been able to change the board from appointed to elected.

One proposal would be to elect or appoint school board members from county supervisor districts.

Arceneaux said she also abstained from voting on the school board appointment because she believes the city should wait until a new administration is in place July 1.

West and Arceneaux also abstained from voting on Ellen Menetree’s appointment to the library board and Mamie Lee Mazique’s reappointment to the board of water commissioners.

Menetree will replace Elaine Lehmann, who resigned from the library board.

Arceneaux said she abstained on those appointments &uot;to be consistent&uot; with her vote on the school board appointment. She said she thinks the city should wait until the new administration is in place.

West said his abstentions were &uot;not a reflection on any of the board members, just a courtesy extended to the new administration.&uot;

Brown lost the Democratic nomination to F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith, who now faces Robert F. Costa in the June 6 general election.