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Former School Trustee in Paramount Agrees to Fill Board Vacancy

October 20, 1985|LEE HARRIS | Times Staff Writer

PARAMOUNT — Former board member Ethel Hillyard, who retired from the Paramount Unified School District board in 1981, has been appointed to fill out the remaining term of a trustee who recently died.

Board members by a 3-1 vote Tuesday appointed Hillyard, 65, to fill the seat of Sandra Paisley, who died Sept. 25. Paisley's term ran through 1987.

Hillyard, who served 16 years on the board before stepping down, said she willingly accepted the appointment--one that she did not solicit.

"I will have to reacquaint myself with the district because I have been away for four years," she said in an interview.

Hillyard, a housewife, has lived in Paramount for 35 years and has been involved in numerous community activities over the years including the PTA. She had two children who attended district schools.

By state law, the board had the choice of appointing someone or calling for a special election.

Petition for Election

Hillyard cannot take her seat for 30 days because the law permits anyone opposed to the appointment to petition within that time to force a special election. Opponents must gather signatures of 1.5% of the voters who voted in the last regular board election, which was in 1983. District officials, who did not have exact figures, estimated it would take 250 signatures to force an election, which could be held no sooner than March.

Three board members, Shirley Elliott, Bill Carpenter and Joseph Montoya supported her appointment. Only board member V. E. (Gene) French favored a special election.

Hillyard's appointment is the first of several possible changes that the board could undergo in the next month. The terms of Elliott, Montoya and French are up in November and French has decided not to run, guaranteeing at least one new member when the new board takes office.

There are eight candidates, in addition to the two incumbents, seeking the three seats. The top three vote-getters will be elected.

Complete Voting Board

In proposing the appointment of Hillyard rather than holding a special election to fill the vacancy sometime next year, Carpenter said he was swayed by the uncertainties posed by the November election and the need to have a complete voting board as soon as possible.

"The appointment was done to stabilize the district. This way we make sure the school district's business can be carried on in a orderly fashion," Carpenter said.

The appointment, Carpenter said also eliminated "the many 2-2 votes we had during Sandra's illness. With the appointment we can get on with school business."

Paisley, who had been ill since May with leukemia, had missed numerous meetings because of her illness, Carpenter said.

French, who cast the only dissenting vote, said he opposed the appointment but was not personally opposing Hillyard.

"I think Ethel is a good person and will do a good job but I think the board needs new blood. It needs a change. That is one of the reasons I'm retiring," said French.

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