BOE Elections Should Not Have Taken Place Second Time

The Board of Education acted inappropriately in holding a second election of officers at its December meeting according to the opinion of Board of Education Counsel Richard A. Mills of the law firm Shipman and Goodman.{{more}}

The 10-page opinion of Mills, dated Jan. 28, was obtained under a Freedom of Information request by The Orange Times.

Initially the FOI was denied by the BOE. However, The Orange Times filed an appeal with the state Freedom of Information Commission. Subsequently the board reversed its decision.

At a Special Meeting of the BOE on April 23, the Board voted to release the opinion of Mills in a 6-2-1 vote with members Robert Ricciardi, Scott Massey, William Kraut, Susan Riccio, Amy Criscuolo and Diane Brown in favor of releasing the document. Jeffery Cap and Keith Marquis voted against releasing the document. Member Jody Deitch abstained from the vote; she writes for this publication and member Debra Marino was absent from the meeting.

Last November, the BOE held its annual election of officers. Jeanine Consigleio was elected chairman, Jody Dietch vice chairman and Debra Marino secretary.

At the December meeting BOE member Keith Marquis called a Point of Order declaring the November election of officers illegal saying the election should have been held in December. Consiglio was absent from the meeting.

In a 6-3 vote election of officers was added to the agenda. Dietch, Criscuolo and Sue Falvey opposed adding the elections to the agenda protesting that a legal opinion first be gotten and that Consiglieo should be in attendance.

Marquis was voted in as chairman, Kraut vice chair and Marino remained secretary.

According to Mill’s opinion two bylaws conflict with each other on the timing of elections. According to Roberts Rule of Order the two must be interrupted in harmony with the other bylaws.

Mill’s further states the election of Dietch as vice chair in November was invalid. According to the bylaws a majority did not elect her as the vote was 4 – 2 -2.

In the conclusion “… We believe that Mrs. Consiglio and Mrs. Marino were properly elected … at the November 13 Board meeting.”

Consiglio resigned Dec. 14 in protest of the December elections.