Michael Callahan was in violation of a conflict of interest provision in state law.
MINOT – School Committee member Michael Callahan resigned at a special board meeting Tuesday night.

Callahan took the action because it recently came to light that he is in violation of a conflict of interest provision in state law that prohibits him from serving on the board in the school district where a family member is employed.

School Committee chairman Colleen Quint said that before the March 5 election, Callahan and the school board were unaware of the conflict, which arose due to the fact that Callahan’s wife is on the staff of the Elm Street School of Mechanic Falls.

Although Callahan is on the Minot committee, Minot is part of School Union 29, which is comprised of Minot, Mechanic Falls and Poland. The three towns share a single superintendent. Thus, Callahan is, in some part, the boss of Superintendent Nina Schlikin, who, in turn, is his wife’s boss.

“It came out of the blue; it’s an unfortunate situation but the statute is clear,” said Quint.

Board member Chris Woodford added, “If I thought it was gray, I would go with the will of the voters. Personally, I think it stinks but the statute is very clear.”

Callahan said he submitted his resignation with misgivings and he wanted assurances that the committee would hold an election in order to fill the vacancy he was creating.

“I was elected by the will of the people. I think that it should be the will of the people to replace me,” said Callahan.

He said that he had no choice but to resign. He recognized that if he forced the committee to remove him through legal means, it would cost the town money.

If the committee neglected to remove him, to follow the statutes, the town could lose state subsidy money.

The board accepted Callahan’s resignation and agreed to take up the matter of how he will be replaced at another meeting.

The committee can either name a replacement, in which case that person would serve until the next regular election, or it could call for a special election.

Quint said she had contacted Selectman Steve French, who told her that his board would not object to a special election.

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