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As mayor defends superintendent search gone awry, second Easthampton school committee member resigns

Laurie Garcia is resigning from the Easthampton, Massachusetts, School Committee.
Sarah Crosby
Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com
Laurie Garcia is resigning from the Easthampton, Massachusetts, School Committee.

A second member of the Easthampton, Massachusetts, school committee has announced her resignation. That's after a contentious superintendent selection process that attracted national attention.

One candidate, Vito Perrone, had his offer withdrawn. He said it was because he used the word "ladies" in an email, while city officials say the reasons go beyond that.

School Committee member Laurie Garcia said she's leaving because she disagrees with the decision.

"They are moving backwards," she said. "They are finding an interim [superintendent] to then start a whole new search and we had a wonderful superintendent lined up in Dr. Vito Perrone."

Garcia thinks highly of Perrone. She's currently a teacher in West Springfield, where Perrone is an administrator.

Beyond the two resignations, a former member filed a complaint, saying the school committee violated open meeting law.

But Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, who serves on the committee, said they followed the law.

"We delivered a process that was open, that was fair," she said. "The result of a process is not guaranteed nor is it something that the school committee can guarantee."

LaChapelle made the remarks Monday on NEPM's The Fabulous 413.

The district is now planning to hire an interim superintendent while another search for a permanent leader can take place.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.