Superintendent George Gabriel

Brad Olson’s last act as a New Castle school board member was to vote himself out of office.

“Is this something you’re sure you want to do?” superintendent George Gabriel jokingly asked prior to Wednesday’s special session.

Olson has moved to Poland Township, Mahoning County. An attorney, he is affiliated with the Dimeo Law Offices, which has locations in New Castle and Ellwood City. Olson moved to Ohio to explore opportunities to expand the business.

He submitted his resignation Aug. 31.

“It has been my pleasure to serve with this outstanding administrative team and working toward the common goal of making positive advancements for the students of this community,” he said.

“I am proud to serve on this board, and proud my children were students of this school district.”

Gabriel said that Olson always will be a “New Castle man.”

J. Allan Joseph, Mark Kirkwood, Karen Humphrey, Barbara Razzano and Olson accepted the resignation. Joseph participated by phone. Dr. Marilyn K. Berkely, Mary Ann Tofel, Fred Mozzocio and Anna Pascarella did not attend.

The board must appoint Olson’s successor within 30 days, solicitor Charles Sapienza said. If the board does not make an appointment, the Lawrence County Common Pleas Court will fill the vacancy if petitioned by 10 or more district taxpayers.

If the board appoints Olson’s replacement, he or she will serve until Dec. 5, the day the board conducts its reorganization.

With an election more than 60 days away, the chairmen of the county’s Democratic and Republican parties are expected to place candidates on the ballot to fill the remainder of Olson’s two-year term.

During its work session Monday, the board will discuss how to fill the short-term void.

“There’s nothing that says you have to interview,” Sapienza said. “There’s nothing that says you have to advertise.

“It’s an appointment. Any discussion of an appointment must be done in a public forum.”

Gabriel said he would like the board to name a replacement in order to avoid 4-4 votes.

“I don’t think it’s good to have an even-numbered board,” he said. “Essentially, all district business can come to a halt.”

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