Saranac Lake school board appoints Dwyer

SARANAC LAKE – The Saranac Lake Central School District board appointed a new member Wednesday night.

Dennis Dwyer Sr. was chosen by five of the six board members. Lisa Paschke, a former board member, received the other vote.

Dwyer, who was not at the meeting, currently serves on the Harrietstown Board of Assessment and Review and was a Saranac Lake village trustee for six years in the 1990s.

“I just thought it was time for me to get involved,” Dwyer told the Enterprise in an interview on Tuesday, “I felt I should be a member and not just an outsider.”

School board President Clyde Baker began by giving brief introductions for candidates LeeAnne Baker, Dwyer, Paschke, Joan Schaefer and Jon Vinograd. The board members then discussed who they thought was the best choice.

Shir Filler said she had mixed feelings about picking Paschke.

“I think Lisa was great, and she was the top vote-getter,” Filler said, referring to Paschke’s third-place finish for two board seats in the May election, “but I’m afraid if we pick her, people will feel this whole process would be a sham. … On the flip side, she’ll fit right back in, knows exactly what’s going on and in some ways would be perfect.”

Filler also mentioned that Vinograd had run twice for the board and had been unsuccessful.

“To me, that says something about the public’s view,” Filler said.

Clyde Baker said he had worked on a political committee with Dwyer.

“He’s very community minded, grew up here, had his kids here,” the board president said.

New board member Kelly Morgan said she had a positive view of Dwyer.

“As Clyde said, he is very community oriented, and I think his background with budgets and committees, I think he would be an asset,” Morgan said.

Aurora White, another recently elected board member, said she didn’t know any of the candidates but said it sounded like Dwyer and Vinograd had strengths that could help the board.

Katie Fischer said her choice was Paschke.

“My opinion is Lisa was the higher vote-getter,” Fischer said. “I just can’t take away the 250 votes she got.”

Clyde Baker made a motion to narrow the selection down to Dwyer, Paschke and Vinograd. Then a roll-call vote was taken. All of the board members voted for Dwyer, except one. Fischer voted to appoint Paschke.

Dwyer will replace former board President Debra Lennon, who resigned due to family medical reasons. Dwyer will serve on the board until the next school board election in May and could potentially run for office at that time.