[Editorial] Empty Chairs

[Editorial] Empty Chairsthumbnail
Published: July 31, 2010 @ 8:00 AM EDT

No pay. No glory. A position on Roselle Park’s Board Of Education (BOE) offers neither for those willing to take part in the community by not only deciding how to spend over 50% of every property taxpayer’s money but also the direction and quality of education for the children of the borough. Such a task can take its toll on a person’s time and dedication. Maybe that is why there were only two (2) people who officially ran for three (3) open seats on the BOE this year. The appointment of write-in candidate Scott Nelson, who received the most votes after declared candidates Loren Harms and Jeff Parrell , brought a new member to the Board – which was a surprise to almost everyone – including Vicky Keenan who herself ran a write-in campaign and received 112 votes.

Fast forward a little bit to the June meeting of the BOE where it was announced that Mrs. Nancy Kinloch would be resigning from the Board due to the fact that she was moving from the borough that same month. So now a seat has become vacant, with the Board having until August 25th to legally have it filled. The choices left to the the Board members are to interview for the position, advertise for it, or simply appoint someone without doing either. The word is that Mrs. Kennan, who received the second most number of votes, will be appointed by the Board at the August 3rd meeting. This practice would follow the last two appointments that were made by the BOE for Jeff Parrell, who filled the vacancy brought about by Mrs. Laganga’s resignation, and Scott Nelson who filled a vacant seat cause by a lack of candidates during the last election. The argument could be made to follow an interview and/or advertising process to show signs of transparency, especially since this year’s school budget vote was defeated following questions from the public regarding how contract negotiations were held. There could also be another argument made that someone who is informed as to how the BOE works should be appointed. Seeing as Mrs. Keenan only attended one or two meetings in the past year and was seated with current BOE council members the night of the election could give the appearance of being a handpicked candidate from the BOE.

All these arguments though, have now been made moot by the latest turn of events – the resignation of current BOE President Ken Iachio, which is scheduled to be announced at the August 3rd meeting. Mr. Iachio’s resignation will take effect August 31st which means he will be able to vote for an appointment to fill Mrs. Kinloch’s unexpired term then have that person vote for his replacement. The other issue that will need to be decided due to Mr. Iachio’s resignation will be the appointment of the BOE Vice-President since the current Vice-President, Roseann Rinaldi will be President, leaving her position open. It has been mentioned that Loren Harms will be voted in as Vice-President.

But back to the two (2) seats that need to be filled. Will they be filled by write-in candidates Vicki Keenan and Andrew Casais who got the most votes after Scott Nelson? If either refuse will the BOE continue down the list of write-ins to include Luz Alvarez, Maddie Arrocho, Debbie Bulli, Gilda DeIorio, Ed Fahoury, Dan Falese, C. Huxford, Yelitza Jusino, Brian Keane, Robert Litterer, Glenn Marczewski, Doran Massey, Rick Matarante, Mark Maulbeck, Jack McCarthy, Bob Milici, John Poulos, or John Schwarz?

If not, will there the position(s) be advertised? Will there be announcements made to fill Mr. Iachio’s seat since the BOE has until November 4th to legally fill it?

There is an opportunity to have the BOE offer a gesture of inclusiveness by advertising and/or interviewing for the position instead of continuing to do business as usual since, due to budget cuts and the current economy, the times have changed.