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Westport School Board Chairman Resigns

WESTPORT, Conn. – The first meeting of the Westport Board of Education for the upcoming school year was the last for Chairman Don O’Day, who announced his resignation at the start of the meeting Monday night.

O’Day, a chief administrative officer of risk management at CitiMortgage, was elected to the board in 2005 and became chairman in 2008. He said he was resigning to focus on his career.

“What I’ve been doing for the last seven years has been struggling and juggling my professional responsibilities with my volunteer responsibilities,” O’Day said. “As much as my volunteer responsibilities mean to me — because it’s truly been an honor to be on this Board of Education — I think I’ve run out of arrows in my quiver. I have to focus just on professional responsibilities.”

With O’Day, a Democrat, stepping down from the board, the Democratic Town Committee will begin the process of nominating someone to fill the vacancy, he said. That candidate must then be approved by the remaining six members of the board.

Vice Chairman Jim Marpe, a Republican, will likely take over the reins as chairman. He will serve as interim chairman until the board selects its new chairman. A Yankees fan, O’Day compared his departure to that of closing pitcher John Wetteland, who was replaced by Mariano Rivera.

“Jim Marpe is our Mariano Rivera,” O’Day told the board. “He will be an outstanding chair. I can leave without any worries of the direction this board will take."

Board members and Superintendent of School Elliott Landon took turns lauding O’Day for his work on the board. Marpe said O’Day “successfully led us through four of the most challenging budget sessions,” and the Parent-Teacher Association Council commended O’Day for “always putting students first."

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