Lynnda Crowder-Eagle, who represents northwest Cobb, was elected chairperson in a vote of 4-3, with Dr. John Crooks, David Morgan and Alison Bartlett opposing. David Banks nominated Crowder-Eagle, and there were no other nominees.
Holli Cash, who represents southeast Cobb, was elected vice chairperson. That vote was also 4-3, though the opposers were Morgan, Bartlett and Banks. Crooks made the nomination, and there were no other nominees.
Banks said his vote against Cash was purely partisan.
"I have an R next to my name, and she has a D next to hers," he said.
Before the meeting, four speakers addressed the board to voice support for Bartlett, and urged members to work together. At the board's December meeting, Bartlett was the target of intense criticism from principals and fellow board members because she had previously said teachers at five schools had told her they were encouraged by their principals to vote for the balanced calendar in a district survey.
At that meeting, Dr. John Abraham, who was the board chairman, said he would recommend the board censure Bartlett. But there was no mention of any such action Wednesday, either publicly or during executive session. Abraham would not discuss Wednesday why he did not make that recommendation.
Board members also declined to take attorney Glenn Brock up on his offer to void his current contract with, which is believed to be worth about $2 million per year for his firm, Brock, Clay, Calhoun and Rogers.
The contract was signed in 2005 and allowed to roll over through 2012. It states that if the board does nothing, it will continue to roll over every four years without limit. The contract renewal was discussed by board members in November 2007 during a closed-door meeting, and no public mention was made of it until nearly a year later.
After Wednesday's meeting, Crowder-Eagle responded to questions about Brock's offer by saying, "His contract expires, I believe, in 2012. It will be discussed when his contract expires.
"They're under contract and we are moving ahead," she said.
The board is planning to retreat into North Georgia for a day and a half, beginning Jan. 29, Crowder-Eagle said. The exact location has not been pinned down, but the board expects to hear a day-long presentation by Nancy Broner, a consultant with the Center for Reform of School Systems, a Houston-based nonprofit organization.
Broner had an informal discussion with the members in a special called meeting on Jan. 6. She is a member of the Duval County School Board in Jacksonville, Fla.