The Howard County Board of Education voted Thursday to recommend that the state remove elected board member Allen Dyer from its ranks, publicly censuring him in an emotionally charged meeting.
The board noted that Dyer has repeatedly filed lawsuits against the panel, including suits concerning Open Meetings Act requirements. The board also accused him of breaching the board's confidentiality provisions.
The vote comes one month after the Howard County Council formally requested that Dyer cease to file lawsuits against the board and choose another way to air his grievances.
Dyer said after the meeting that he would fight the resolution to have him removed.
"I'm going to continue in my efforts to bring this board in compliance with the law and to ensure that the authority of the board is not compromised," said Dyer, whose four-year term is up next year.
While board member Frank Aquino proposed censuring Dyer and removing him from the board, Brian Meshkin suggested removing him from the auditing committee and pledging stronger action should he continue to bring lawsuits against the board.
In reading his resolution for censure and removal, Aquino said, "Mr. Dyer's continued choice of instituting litigation against the board for disagreement over board practice and contrary of the actions of the majority of the board members distracts the board of its mission to serve the students and citizens of Howard County.
"The public needs to know," Aquino continued, "that the board is willing to take action against board members who engage in blatant misconduct."
The resolution also called for Dyer to be removed from the auditing committee, of which he is the chairman. The motion was seconded by Vice Chairman Sandra French.
Dyer denied Aquino's allegations during the meeting and said, "I am saddened to see a fellow board member, a board member whose motto is to practice civility, to use his position to make wild, unsubstantiated allegations in a public forum against anyone. That is an abuse of your position, and I'm sorry for you for that."
Meshkin said that while he empathized with Aquino's sentiments and disagreed with a sitting board member suing the board, he didn't consider Dyer's actions "impeachable." He added, "The last time I checked, being a pain in the rear end or a jerk is not illegal." Meshkin later apologized for using the word "jerk" in reference to Dyer.
Board member Cynthia Vaillancourt also said that the board should not vote to remove Dyer from office. "A measured approach would be more reasonable than a nuclear option as our first official action," she said.
But board member Ellen Flynn Giles told Vaillancourt and Meshkin that they have been on the board only since December, and that the other members have been engaged with such matters involving Dyer for more than two years.
"It's basically politics," Dyer said after the vote. "There's an election coming up, and since the last elections, where there was an introduction of new blood on the board, there has been almost a panic on the part of the established, partisan group on the board and, in fact, in the county."
The proposal passed 5-2, with Meshkin and Vaillancourt voting against, and Dyer abstaining.