On December 3, 2012, the Orange Board of Education, which, under the leadership of Chairman Jeanne Consiglio had gained a reputation of being proactive and respectful, was torn in different directions.
Vice-Chairman Jody Dietch was sitting in for the vacationing Consiglio, and in the presence of a half dozen or more elementary school students, she announced the opening of the public participation portion of the meeting.
Immediately, former vice chairman Keith Marquis jumped in, stating that the board elections taken in November were illegal.
That’s where the whole mess began, finger pointing, name calling and eventually a new election.
By the end of the meeting Marquis was chairman; Bill Kraut was vice chairman and Deb Marino was Secretary.
When Consiglio returned from vacation she sent in a short letter of resignation
This letter will serve to notify you of my resignation, effective December 13, 2012, from the Orange Board of Education.
I choose not to serve on a Board of Education which has political affiliation as a priority rather than the education of children.
NOTE: Consiglio told Orange Live that she loved being part of something that she cared about doing to help the children and the town.
At the January OBOE meeting, board member Sue Falvey read her letter of resignation in which she heavily criticized Marquis for his handling of the situation.
Since December, board members questioned whether the November election was illegal as Marquis claimed, and if the January election was legal since it came out of the blue that evening.
On Monday, Feb. 11, the OBOE held its regular meeting at Mary L. Tracy.
The board went into executive session and when they emerged it was revealed that the November election was valid except for the vice chairman’s seat.
Bill Kraut was elected vice chairman in December (unseating Jody Dietch) — therefore fulfilling the empty post.
Dietch, it seems needed the majority of votes for vice chairman in December, but only received plurality. So she was not “legally” the vice chair.
When Consiglio resigned amidst the controversial mess, Kraut became Chairman, although no one knew it yet.
After executive session under board business the OBOE added a new vote for vice chairman to the agenda.
The board elected Dietch vice chairman 6-2-1 (Chairman Kraut was one of the 6 in favor of this decision).
The board voted 8-1 (Dietch voted against) not to release the client attorney privileged opinion.
• As you may recall, in November, Jeanne Consiglio was the Chairman, Marquis was the vice chairman.
• After the annual November election, Consiglio was still Chairman and Jody Dietch was the vice chairman.
• December’s controversial election had Marquis as Chairman and Bill Kraut as vice chairman.
• And Finally, in February, after two resignations, Bill Kraut is Chairman and Jody Dietch is vice chairman.
NOTE: Kraut seems to respect Dietch and most likely will work well with her. I hope he can bring some normalcy to the board so that everyone can forget about this whole episode that briefly blemished the board’s reputation and led to the loss of two dedicated members.
After hearing the latest news, Consiglio told Orange Live, “It saddens me to see the Board that I chaired for almost four years, that was focused on their priorities and working as a cohesive group, spend the past four months focused on the individual political agendas of some with no regard for the children they are there to serve. This behavior is exactly the reason I chose to leave the Board. This is not an organization where I want to volunteer my time.”