Riverhead school board appoints new member at special meeting

The Riverhead school board has appointed former member William Hsiang to the vacant seat on the seven-member school board at a special meeting Wednesday night.

Mr. Hsiang, who served on the board from 1983 until 1993, will fill the seat held by ex-board member Angela DeVito, who unexpectedly announced her resignation in June.

A Riverhead resident, Mr. Hsiang’s appointment is effective today, July 28.

“I’ve seen [the board] work and they seem to work well together,” Mr. Hsiang said Thursday. “I admire their ability to come together. [The 2011-12 budget] was a difficult budget to adopt.”

Mr. Hsiang added that he will not seek reelection in 2012, when Ms. Devito’s term will expire.

The meeting was announced on the district’s website July 26, though it was not attended by members of the media. The board is required by law to announce a special meeting 24 hours prior to it.

Almost two weeks since the filing deadline for candidates, the district has also now released the names of 13 candidates seeking a seat on the board in an email sent to members of the media today. The News-Review sent a request pursuant to Freedom of Information Laws for that information last week.

The candidates are as follows: Marie Buday; Harry Deny; Lee Hanwick; Willie Hsiang; Chuck Heilman; Susan Koukounas; Theresa Markel; James Rheaume; Patricia Sapienza-Brown; Glenn Schafer; Virginia Scudder; Richard Tavano and Daniel Waloski.

“I am very pleased that we were able to reach a consensus and appoint such a qualified individual to be on our Board,” board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse said in a statement.  “[Mr. Hsiang] has served the people of this community for many years and we are all grateful to him for his willingness to volunteer his time once again to fill this vacancy.  His expertise in the areas of budgeting and fiscal oversight will be invaluable to us as we move forward in what is a difficult financial period.”

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the special meeting was not otherwise publicized. The Riverhead School District did fax a meeting notice to the Riverhead News-Review Monday morning.

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