BOE Votes Dietch Back to Vice Chair

A reversal in leadership was hashed out at the February meeting of the Board of Education last week.{{more}}

Many heated words were exchanged at the beginning of the meeting when Chairman Keith Marquis tried to go into executive session to finally discuss the November and December board elections.

Board member Jody Dietch called for Marquis to immediately resign from the board for his actions the past two months.

“Now that the legal opinion has finally been obtained and it shows that all of the arguments Mr. Marquis and Mrs. Marino made at the December meeting regarding the validity of the November elections were wrong, I feel that Mr. Marquis has no other option then to resign from the Board of Education,” Dietch said.

The opinion of Attorney Rich Mills was not made available to the public or press. The Orange Times has filed a Freedom of Information request for that document.

At issue is whether the November elections were legitimate.

According to Marquis some members of the BOE felt that Chairman Jeannine Consiglio manipulated members into voting for her after she promised them she would support them for an office. And she didn’t follow through on her promise. Once the concerns were raised the conflicting polices were noted and a second election of officers was held.

“It was always about belief, faith and trust in your board chair,” Marquis said referring to Consiglio who resigned following the revote which took place in December. Board member Sue Falvey also resigned.

“Questions of vote manipulation and other voting improprieties were raised by members of the board,” Marquis said.

“It is unfortunate that a few Board members are of the opinion that democracy has no place at the Board of Education. We are all entitled to vote for the people whom we believe will be the best fit for leadership on the Board,” Consiglio said when reached for comment.

Questions arose over two conflicting board policies. One which says BOE elections are to take place in November and another says December.

Consiglio was not present at the December meeting and newly elected vice chairman Dietch ran the meeting.

Marquis called for a point of order and added election of officers to the agenda. While Dietch asked for Mills opinion the BOE overwhelmingly supported the election and Dietch along with Consiglio were removed from their positions and Marquis became chairman and Bill Kraut vice chairman.

Consiglio, Dietch and others continued to ask for Mills opinion.

Marquis said he offered them the opportunity to speak with Mills but they declined.

“What has not been told is Jeanne Consiglio and Jody Dietch were given an opportunity to speak with our board counsel in person, on the clock and they refused,” Marquis said.

Dietch said it was an inappropriate time to have the discussion since they were in contract negotiations.

Dietch said she believes the upheaval has all been politically motivated and Consiglio actions were used to manipulate the officers positions.

“The December meeting was politically motivated Democrats verse Republicans how can you say it’s not politically motivated,” she asked.

Board member Scott Massey disagreed.

“It was about getting someone off the board without integrity,” he said.

“Saying it was political defies logic. If it was political Jeanine would not have been chair for the last three years,” board member Debra Marino said.

“If it was about politics why didn’t we support Keith in November (instead of Consiglio),” Marino said.

Following a lengthily executive session vice chairman William Kraut was named chairman and board member Dietch, who had been elected vice chairman in November, was returned to that position by a vote of six in favor, two votes for Marquis and one abstention.

Marino and Marquis voted for Marquis and Bobby Ricciardi abstained. The remaining six members voted for Dietch.

“I voted for those people in November and continue support them today,” Consiglio said.

Bridget can be reached at Follow her on Twitter: @totbalbert / facebook Bridget AlbertTot.