The following is a Letter to the Editor sent by Shelly Lombard, a former Montclair BOE member:
At Monday’s Board of Education meeting, everyone agreed it’s time to focus on children again; including the people who’ve dominated Board meetings with unsubstantiated accusations like the one about the union president’s computer being searched. So where do we go from here?
First, the mayor should let the three new Board members take their seats. State law doesn’t provide a way to “un-appoint” someone. They were great choices when he selected them a month ago and they still are. They didn’t violate any OPRA or OPMA laws because they haven’t been sworn in yet. It seems the only thing they did “wrong” was wanting someone other than Jessica DeKoninck as president.
Second, stop letting Board meetings be held hostage by speakers with personal vendettas and conspiracy theories. Board meetings aren’t public hearings; they’re business meetings held in public and the only time the majority of the Board can legally discuss important issues like the proposed charter school or class size. Instead of following the advice of the consultant she hired to advise on effective Board meetings, DeKoninck allowed speakers to waste valuable hours verbally attacking members, calling them criminals, and even accompanying their insults with music. The new members volunteered to make a difference, not to be abused.
Third, let the majority rule. Last year, when DeKoninck decided she wanted to be president, she lined up a majority of votes in advance and David Deutsch stepped aside without whining. It looks terrible for politicians to be pressuring new Board members to keep DeKoninck as president when she’s the mother of Sean Spiller’s campaign manager and will be negotiating the contract with union members Spiller represents. DeKoninck did the best job she could but it’s time to stop throwing tantrums because her feelings are hurt and graciously step aside.