Less than a week after the May election, the Hermiston School District Board of Education declared a vacancy on Monday night.

Days before he was elected, Position 1 candidate Rob Schaefer had already notified the district of his inability to accept the slot because of a new policy by his employer, Horace Mann Companies.

In a letter given to board members, Schaefer described an email and subsequent communication from the company.

“The email ordered me to step down from running for the school board position. Horace mann is a company that targets the educator market and Horace Mann does not want my position on the board to create the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Schaefer wrote. “It is my intention that once I am officially elected to the position to decline accepting it at that time.”

During Monday’s work session, the school board unanimously voted to accept Schaefer’s resignation to declare a vacancy on the board and to begin accept applications for the position.

Applications, available at the district office and on the district website, will be accepted until noon on Monday, June 6. Board members will interview candidates during the June 13 meeting. That meeting begins at 6 p.m. at West Park Elementary.

The process follows the same procedure used when previous board members have resigned, Superintendent Wade Smith said Monday. Two current board members, Jason Middleton and Ginny Holthus, were appointed to their positions before being re-elected.

During the meeting, multiple board members thanked Schaefer for his interest in the position and lamented his resignation.

“I want to thank Rob for running,” David Drotzmann said. “He would have been a great board member.”

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