Jan 162013

File photo with Supt. Lynn McMullin, Then Chairman Jeanne Consiglio, then vice chair Keith Marquis, board member Jody Dietch and board member Sue Falvey, who has since resigned.

First, former Orange Board of Education Chairman Jeanne Consiglio resigned from the board and on Monday member Susan Falvey also resigned.

This all began at a contentious December BOE meeting when board member (former vice chairman Keith Marquis, who was not reelected in the November board officers election) claimed that the November election was not legal and in spite of protests from several board members went forward in running another election after securing his place as Chairman in the absence of Consiglio, who was on vacation.

Falvey read this letter at Monday’s board meeting:

I ask everyone to think about this question: Were the board members who overturned our original vote in November thinking about our children or thinking about some vendetta or selfish,  political feelings? Think about it…

As of right now,  we don’t know who the legal chair is. We are unsure if the last month of board business, including teacher contract is legal. This can affect our teachers and our children. We have requested the legal opinion of our lawyer but Keith Marquis who is acting Chair has denied our request. Why?

We have seeked the opinions of other BOE lawyers and chairs from surrounding towns, all specializing in policy and Roberts Rules. They all agree that the December vote probably is not legal. Maybe after this meeting and hopefully some emails and calls to the board office from you, orange citizens, Keith Marquis who is acting chair, will grant the request to seek our lawyer’s advice.

An accusation was made at the December meeting that the November election was manipulated. YET, the new vote in December WAS NOT? When the currently seated chair received only 3 of 10 votes for vice chair in November yet received 6 of 9 votes in December? What does that tell us?…

Our November vote was all about the children in Orange. So why was it so imperative to overturn the vote AND in December in front of Race Brook students? One student captured it perfectly by saying, “politics.”

I am unsure if those board members who brought this up even apologized to the RBS community. I say “those” because this action of “Point of Order” was calculated amongst those board members. I find it difficult to  participate in a political entity which allows its members, some of whom happen to be attorneys, to use an insignificant loophole to cast a revote AND without discussing it with the entire board.

Why didn’t these same legal minds recognize this technicality during the evening of the first November vote? This revote resulted in a grave consequence AND also taking us away from our main goal which is and always should be the educational objectives of our children.  Also, the timely nature of the revote happened to coincide with the absence of one member, a scenario that was needed to overturn the original vote. If there wasn’t any deceit involved, then the votes would not have changed in December.

What benefit does this serve our children? This only serves the board members who deliberately blindsided the town, RBS community, and the rest of the board!

Based on the above points I have made, where in my opinion, those board members main objective was power and partisan politics versus the educational objectives of our children, I am again asking for support from our town members to seek opinion from our BOE lawyer on this issue. Please email our board office.

I hope Keith will then report those findings so we can resolve this issue. We want to end this immediately so we can continue the focus on the educational needs of our children and schools here in Orange.

I was elected As a public servant. I thought I could use my expertise as an educator and parent,  but after a year of this  political nonsense, I realized that it is more about power and winning than about our children. I cannot be a part of a group that puts their needs before the needs of our children. I apologize for resigning before my term is up, however this scenario is unacceptable to me.

To Lynn McMullin who is a steadfast administrator, Thank you for all you do. To Jody and Amy, Thanks for keeping your priorities in check. Best of luck to all.

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