MINOT – At a special meeting Thursday night, the School Committee appointed Karen M. Whalen to replace Michael Callahan, who resigned.

Callahan, who had just been elected to a three-year term in March, resigned because state law prohibits a person from serving if a family member is employed by the school system.

Whalen was appointed to serve until the March 2005 elections.

Before taking its action, the committee debated whether to make an appointment or have selectmen hold a special election.

Callahan, on the night he resigned, indicated he would prefer an election.

Committee member Chris Woodford said he was inclined to go back to townspeople for a vote.

Committee member Steve Holbrook pointed out that past school committees have, on two or three occasions, filled vacancies by appointment.

“We should follow past practice. We ought to fill the seat and go on with the business of running the school,” said Holbrook.

Committee member Larry Bates agreed that dragging things out wouldn’t get the work done that needs to be done.

Noting that it would be mid-June at best before the vacancy could be filled if it went to an election, Woodford said, “An election sounds great until you look at the timeline.”

The motion to make an appointment passed 3-1, with Woodford withholding his vote.

Discussion of who to appoint to the vacancy was decidedly shorter.

Chairman Colleen Quint said only Whalen had come forward. Committee members agreed that Whalen, well-known for her years of dedicated volunteer work for the school, would be an excellent addition to their ranks.

The vote to appoint her was unanimous.

The committee noted that there are two Karen Whalens in town, both active in school affairs.

Karen M. Whalen and her husband, Rick, have two sons in local schools: Matthew is a freshman at Poland Regional High School and Garrett is in the fourth grade at the Minot Consolidated School.

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