LEWISTON — Megan Parks was re-elected chairwoman of the School Committee this week, overcoming a challenge from City Council representative Alicia Rea.

Parks took over as chairwoman when Monique Roy stepped down to care for her ailing father five and a half months ago.

Member Kiernan Majerus-Collins spoke in favor of Rea’s nomination, saying he had served with her on the Androscoggin County Budget Committee, of which she is the chairwoman by a unanimous vote.

“(Rea) has an administrative, legal and parliamentary mind and she treats members with respect and is always on time for meetings,” Majerus-Collins said.

The committee voted 6-3 to re-elect Parks (Majerus-Collins, Rea and Lynnea Hawkins voted against) and 8-1 to re-elect Bruce Damon as vice chairman (Majerus-Collins voted against).

After those votes, Parks immediately nominated member Tanya Whitlow to be the committee’s parliamentarian, a position held by Rea for several years.

Parks said the appointment did not require a vote.

“This is an inauspicious start to the chairmanship,” Majerus-Collins said. “It looks like nothing more than political retribution and I’m disgusted, frankly.”

Other members agreed, praising Rea’s keen mind and work ethic.

“I’m trying hard not to say what I want to say,” Hawkins said. “I agree with those who have spoken before me.”

Parks responded that she is not a political person and only wanted to give Whitlow an opportunity to step into a role she had not experienced. Whitlow has been a staunch voting ally of Parks’ on the divided board.

Rea, visibly shaken, said she had not been told she would not be reappointed. “This is news to me, as well.”

The committee eventually voted unanimously in favor of a motion by Majerus-Collins to change the procedural rules to require School Committee confirmation of the appointment of parliamentarian and to appoint Rea for the following year.

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