By Douglas Moser
---- — METHUEN — As the School Committee term came to an end Dec. 9 with its final meeting of the year, one chair sat empty, as it has since before Halloween.
Vice Chairman Evan Chaisson, who was prevented from running for re-election this year by term limits, last attended a School Committee meeting on Oct. 15.
Chaisson, 30, who served for three terms, said job training in St. Louis for a new position kept him from two recent meetings, while a late shift at work with Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co., the company that operates the commuter rail system, kept him from one meeting. He was on a trip to Disney World in Florida during a fourth meeting.
The job training in St. Louis was the final step to moving into a position as signalman for MBCR, he said.
Mayor Stephen Zanni, who serves as chairman of the School Committee, said that barring illness or family matters, elected officials have a responsibility to attend meetings.
“You make a commitment for two years, and you should hold to that commitment,” Zanni said.
Chaisson said he was acting based on what is best for his family. “I had a change of life situation and I had to make the decisions that best affects me and my family,” Chaisson said.
No major policy issues came up for votes in the last four meetings. The committee approved a snow plowing and removal contract, approved a field trip to Italy and heard presentations from principals on each building’s school improvement plan. The votes that occurred were unanimous.
One other seat has been empty since former member Deborah Quinn resigned in October when she moved to Chelmsford. The committee is comprised of seven members, with six elected at-large and the mayor holding the seventh seat.
The new committee elected last month will take office in January.
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