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Board thwarts abortive try to fill Samatar seat

Posted by: Steve Brandt under Politics and government Updated: September 11, 2013 - 10:09 AM

Minneapolis may have a new school board member selected by around Veterans Day, and seated before Christmas.

The board approved Tuesday night a timeline and criteria for filling the opening created by the death of Hussein Samatar after an abortive attempt to short circuit that process by appointing Samatar's wife.

Applications are due by Sept. 27. Only those living within board District 3 are eligible.  That’s the part of Minneapolis lying between Interstate 35W and the Mississippi River, and north of a line generally following E. 36th Street.  The board said that applicants must have lived within the area 30 days prior to the appointment.

The board plans to narrow the field to five finalists on Oct. 16, and has set public interviews for Oct. 22.  It would vote on Nov. 12, and assuming there was no deadlock, seat the chosen candidate on Dec. 12.

A nascent campaign to appoint Samatar’s wife, Ubah Jama, to the seat arose during the board meeting, and was promoted by board member Carla Bates.  But her motion to appoint Jama immediately needed unanimous consent to depart from board-adopted policy; it died when board member Rebecca Gagnon objected, and other members voted it down. 

“I do think we owe District 3 a voice in the process,” Gagnon said. “I worry that we’re making an emotional decision.”

Mohamud Noor also has announced that he may seek the appointment.

The board's criteria for rating the applicants are posted on the district web site.

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