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Frament appointed to fill school board vacancy

| September 15, 2006 12:00 AM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Libby School Board on Tuesday voted 4-1 to appoint former trustee Gerald Frament to the board.

Tracy Comeau, 42, also applied for the vacancy created by school director Lisa Bardole's resignation in August. Frament, 62, will complete Bardole's term, which expires in May.

Lee Disney voted against appointing Frament, who on May 2 made an unsuccessful bid for re-election for a second, three-year term. Disney did not want to go against the voters' wishes.

"The board in the past didn't go with the candidate voted out," Disney said. "Jerry was holding a seat and I have a real problem with that. I my personal opinion, he needs to run in May (if he wants back on the board). It's nothing against Jerry."

School board chairwoman Teri Kelly noted Frament was among seven to run for three seats. School board normally doesn't get that many candidates.

"I'm not as concerned," Kelly said. "Sometimes name recognition has an important play as well."

Frament, a retired computer systems analyst/manager, placed fifth during the election with 307 votes.

Comeau, owner of H & R Block franchises in Libby and Bonners Ferry, also ran on May 2 and received 204 votes.

Disney and Gela Rae Koehler, both members of Friends of the Historic Libby High School, won seats with 573 and 393 votes. Incumbent Melanie Wood got the third seat with 470 votes.

Prior to filling the seat, Comeau and Frament spoke to the board.

Comeau, who has three children in the school district, said her business background could benefit the district.

"At this point in my life, I have time to spear and school board seems like the logical choice," she said. "I have kids in the school and an interest in the school system, not just for their sake, but for Libby's sake."

Frament said he enjoyed serving on the board and values education.

"I believe in education as a powerful, powerful tool to bring kids into a society they will run," he said. "Education took me out of poverty in upstate New York, and I experienced all the good things about living in America."

The board liked both candidates, but seemed to favor Frament's experience.

"We've got seven months left on this term," Kelly said. "My feeling is Jerry is the experienced candidate. Tracy would have to come on the board and learn. Not that that would be detrimental."

"I don't want to see anyone come on the board with a agenda," added school director Jim England. "I know Jerry and I feel comfortable with Tracy that you're coming on to make things better for the school system. I have nothing against you (Tracy). I just know Jerry."