Category Archives: board members

MIDDLETOWN SEWERAGE AUTHORITY (TOMSA) BOARD MEMBER SOON TO JOIN THE LIBRARY BOARD ??

by guest blogger Linda Baum

TOMSA and the Library – two topics I write about often. The differences are innumerable. Now, though, they may have something in common.

In my 11-28-2011 post, “The $500,000 Raid on the Library Won’t Be the Last — The Township Committee adds two additional Library Board members, sets the stage for majority control in 2012”, I speculated that the new members of the Library Board would be well-entrenched members of the Republican Party who are already serving on other boards or commissions.

Fast forward to the Library Board meeting on Wednesday, December 14th. I arrived late to find two other visitors in attendance. One was APP reporter Kevin Penton, who attended the November Board meeting as well. The other fellow, dressed to the nines in suit and tie, looked oddly familiar. He obviously recognized me as well and tried to hide his face. It dawned on me that I know him from the TOMSA Board meetings. I decided to try out a maneuver I learned from Pat Parkinson when I attended my first TOMSA Board meeting. I said, “Hi. I’m Linda Baum, and your name?” He had his guard up and replied dryly that it was nice to meet me but that he chose not to give his name, stating his right to privacy as a member of the public.

Putting TOMSA Board members’ names with their faces has been a struggle because there are no name plates at TOMSA Board meetings even though it’s typical practice by other boards, including the Library Board. So I’m not sure who the man is, or whether he is a TOMSA Board member or perhaps one of TOMSA’s professionals or high-level employees. However, I’m told he fits the description of TOMSA Board alternate member Emil Wrede, who is also a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The man, whoever he was, left early. So did Committeeman Settembrino. At the end of the meeting, I told the Board that they had probably just met one of their newest members. Wendy Latona, Library administrator, said she already suspected as much because he came in the day before to ask for a copy of a resolution. She didn’t say which one, but he obviously obtained it on the spot. In contrast, I have yet to receive even a phone call from TOMSA in response to my own information request.

I guess we will have to wait until Township Reorganization Day on Sunday, January 1st at noon to find out, with certainty, who the new appointees are. Another date to keep in mind is the Township Committee’s regular meeting at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, December 19th, when there will be a hearing on the Township ordinance increasing the membership on the Library Board. See you there.

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Filed under board members, guest blogger, Linda Baum, Middletown Library, Sewage Authority, TOMSA

>I Wonder If This Affects Anyone Currently Sitting On Middletown’s Board of Education or Applicants?

>Seeing how there is a vacant seat currently on the Middletown Board of Education and that the Board is currently accepting application to fill that seat, I wonder how many applicants or current board members know about a bill recently signed into law by Governor Christie, creating tighter restrictions on eligibility requirements of those that serve on New Jersey school boards.

Journalist Mark Spivey recently wrote about this in a column that appeared on various news outlets around the area titled Member might lose BOE seat; Faces disqualification from ’68 drug charge”

…The bill “permanently disqualifies from employment or service” on those boards anyone who has been convicted of a wide range of crimes, including all first- and second-degree offenses (among them many drug-related offenses) but also more minor charges including criminal mischief, reckless endangerment or resisting arrest….

According to the bill, each of the nearly 5,000 members of New Jersey’s hundreds of boards of education is required to undergo a comprehensive criminal history and background check within 30 days. Board members are responsible for covering the cost of the background checks out of their own pockets.

Locally based Assemblyman Jerry Green, D-Union, explained that the bill mirrors existing state restrictions on public schools’ hiring practices.

“If we prohibit someone from teaching in a classroom because of past convictions, then they definitely should be prohibited from presiding over the education of an entire school district,” Green said. “It’s a commonsense change that is long overdue.”

I wonder how many current, past or future candidates for the BOE have long buried skeletons in their closets from their youthful indiscretions; Potentially there are many, but should it really preclude them from serving on the board now or in the future after so many years have past? After all, the same standard isn’t applied to those seeking public office.

I’d like to see what happens if it is found that any current or past members of the Middletown Board of Education is affected by this new law. How will it be handle, will the public know about the real reason why a for current member’s was removed or stepped down or why a past member seeking reappointment was past over or barred from running again?
Now don’t jump to conclusions here on me, I am not making insinuations about anyone currently presiding on the BOE or who has stepped down recently. I am just pointing out the potential ramifications this new law will have on those that wish to serve on a local school boards, whether it is Middletown’s or some other town.

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Filed under board members, Governor Christie, Midddletown Board of Education, qualification of candidates, skeletons in the closet