Board of Education: Horrible display by board members

Horrible display by board members

Dear Editor:
On Tuesday, August 8, 2006, I attended the Hoboken Board of Education monthly meeting – as a citizen of the city of Hoboken and a strong advocate for education; I am writing to express my disheartening concerns regarding the behavior exhibited by the Hoboken Board of Education Trustees with the exception of Theresa Minutillo. First, I would like to commend board member Theresa Minutillo for her leadership initiative in advocating for the "Open Process" – it is my observation that all other board members always engage in dialogue about the "Open Process" but does not take advantage of implementing the process when the opportunity is presented to make progressive changes for the betterment of the children.

It was incredible and appalling, as I watched Board of Ed. President Jim Farina rushing to vote on his "Resolution" to appoint a former board member (who was defeated in last April's Election) to fill the vacancy of current board member Jack Raslowsky (who had just presented his letter of resignation) prior to that meeting.

When President Farina yielded the floor to Theresa Minutillo she noted that the New Jersey School Board Association (NJSBA) supports an "Open Process" – she proceeded to read her "Resolution" which suggested to the board to establish a more fair and "Open Process" that would allow all the citizens of Hoboken the opportunity to interview for the position at an open public forum. Therefore, allowing everyone to participate in the process of filling this vacancy – by the way – is not effective until August 28th.

Well, President Farina and all other (rubber-stamped) board member had an urgency that they could not explain; they all talked around in circle – and in essence, said nothing: President Farina reacted in a very hostile manner shouting at Theresa Minutillo "my resolution takes priority over yours because I am the President." My question to President Farina and all the other irresponsible board members who voted "yes" on this illegal out of order "Resolution" without considering the very hostile manner in which it was presented, since when does a president's suggestion trumps all other board member's suggestion in a democratic society? What happened to your fiduciary obligation to the children and the citizens who voted for you; entrusting that you would do the right thing?

Theresa Burns and Frank Raia flipped-flopped and allowed themselves to be high-jacked right in front of the public – how can you believe in something and then be so easily persuaded to change on someone's command!

Maggie Porrata's assertion of the situation really was way of point: "we have a lot on our plate" and "we wear a lot of different hats" – we need someone who can "hit the ground running" and "we do not have time for a long dragged-out process." In my opinion, Maggie should really revisit the reason she is sitting on the Board of Education.

'Frances Rhodes-Kearns, Vice President was mum but cast a "yes" vote. Carmelo Garcia and Anthony Romano, Jr. have an air of confidence, which causes me to pause, especially when they lean back in their chairs as if they are at the helm of a Fortune 500 organization.

In my view, it was so transparent that this illegal action of the board members to cast their votes urgently to appoint someone to fill the vacancy of a sitting board member, Jack Raslowski before he officially leaves the Board of Education was a "fix – bootlegged, high-jacked, deal making shameful display of a board that is out of control."

In closing, I ask the citizens of the city of Hoboken to hold these individuals accountable when you entrust them with your precious votes. Our children deserve the best that we can offer. The status quo is no longer acceptable – we can't stop the waves, but we can learn to surf.

Carrie Gilliard

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