Montclair BOE Member Leaving Montclair For Position in Indianapolis (UPDATED)

Jevon Caldwell-Gross

UPDATE (3/23): Mayor Jackson tells Baristanet that he is first learning of Rev. Caldwell Gross’ leaving the BOE from the media and has not heard from him.

Montclair’s Board of Education will soon be down one of its members, just as the BOE comes closer to hiring the next Montclair Schools Superintendent.

The United Methodists of Greater New Jersey, in a statement dated March 11, 2018, announced that Rev. Jevon Caldwell Gross and his wife Nicole Caldwell Gross have accepted positions at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis:

Jevon Caldwell Gross, currently the pastor of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church of Montclair (“The Mark”) will be the Teaching Pastor and Nicole Caldwell Gross, currently the Director of Mission and Community Development will be Pastor of Missions in the Indianapolis Church beginning July 1, 2018. The Caldwell Grosses have always dreamed of being in ministry together and this appointment provides them with that opportunity

The BOE’s last meeting was March 19, but nothing has been said about the news. Indianapolis’s gain is Montclair’s loss — both for St. Mark’s United Methodist Church and the BOE. Mayor Robert Jackson will have to appoint someone to fill Caldwell Gross’s seat on the BOE. This is in addition to Jackson deciding whether to appoint two new board members or retain existing members Eve Robinson and Laura Hertzog — in just a few months.

Will Rev. Caldwell Gross still vote on the choice for new superintendent, or abstain, due to his upcoming departure from Montclair? The BOE meets again on March 28.

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  1. Of course he should vote on the superintendent.

    And I wish the family the best in Indianapolis.

  2. No way Frank Rubacky. He’s already gone. It makes no sense that someone gets to vote on the most important impacting decision effecting our schools, but really has no skin in the game after.

    The right thing to do is abstain. And why hasn’t the Minister told anyone about this? It’s March 22nd. This announcement is dated March 11th. Does the Mayor know his appointee is leaving? The story doesn’t say, so it appears not. This is a public announcement only from his Church Ministry.

    The Mayor should be insulted if his appointee was simultaneously working on trying to leave right at the moment our school system was fully defining itself. And then, if this individual was going to go anyway right after still making this key Board vote, but hadn’t yet told the Mayor, Jackson should be very pissed. Maybe the Minister should have resigned before even weeding down the final three candidates if he knew he was leaving anyway. It doesn’t seem very professional Minister Gross.

  3. Correct realworld. It’s very bad politics by Minister Gross.

    He should have bowed out of the Superintendent selection process awhile ago, once he knew he was going. And don’t even think about voting now when he doesn’t have to assume any public responsibility once his service ends. The Minister could have resigned the moment he knew he was leaving. Let the Mayor appoint someone right away if he wanted to who would be here and have to deal with the public and the school system that any new Superintendent will be creating. Or maybe decide to continue that search.

    At the very least, the Minister should abstain from any further voting on this.

  4. Ok, I think it’s time to put phrases like “skin in the game” to rest even if you are not a vegetarian.

    Let’s forget for a moment he is a minister of a flock. I guess it comes down to what kind of board member he has been and how did his POV contribute to the board. If the Mayor thinks he was a bad appointee, then the Mayor should persuade him to abstain.

  5. Frank is of course correct, and the un-named commenters have the status on this issue of, well un-named commenters. Why don’t we see what the Board Attorney says about this. Is there any legal reason Gross should not vote on the Super? I’ll bet no (PS – I’m 1 – 0) . Let’s consider two other Board members who may not be renewed for their position when May comes around. Given the fickle and politically driven selection or non-selection of our Mayor, who knows if they will be re-appointed. By extension, perhaps they should also not be allowed to vote. JB

  6. The fact that our Mayor APPOINTS a BOE comes part and parcel of the way our school district, and town, is run, ie Mayor/Council form of government.

    This format is old and outdated and only a handful of towns use it.

    As to selection of BOE members, the defining statue “assumes” the Mayor will “consult” with the rest of the Council. Not so with Montclair.

  7. Of course, it’s not unlawful technically that the Reverend votes. Don’t distract from what’s important here. That’s not the point. It’s just not right.

    Given how important this decision is to select a new Superintendent, the correct thing for Jevon Caldwell Gross to do was to offer to resign, once he knew he was going. Short of that, he should refrain from voting now on the Superintendent choice.

  8. We accept that our Presidents make all kinds of executive decisions in the interim period between the election and the inaugural.

  9. Rev Gross has volunteered his time to help in the selection process. I think it’s not right that he would be denied the opportunity to see the process through.

  10. Frank said: “We accept that our Presidents make all kinds of executive decisions in the interim period between the election and the inaugural.”

    That maybe so Frank, but presidents don’t usually quit in the middle of their terms. Reverend Gross is resigning and moving on. And if this were all just a total slam dunk and no issue with perception from votes, or a leader’s decision accepted up to the very last day of their service without any comment, then Democrat Merrick Garland would be sitting on the Supreme Court right now, not Republican Neil Gorsuch.

    Votes clearly have consequences. Regardless, we usually expect a person voting — whether appointed or elected — to remain a member of the community after their service ends. But here, Reverend Gross will be voting, the town dealing with the results…and he is no longer a member of the community.

    It just doesn’t feel right.

  11. I guess the social pact to live and serve here is more binding then even I thought.

    I am disappointed that the Mayor had to find out this way.

  12. What about his feelings? What about the feelings of the other board members? What does the Supreme Court have to do with it? You make no sense.

  13. This is a non-story. Unless and until one of the talking heads here cites to legal precedent that supports precluding Caldwell Gross from voting, this discussion is based wholly on conjecture, surmise and speculation.

    If a Supreme Court vacancy were to occur next week and a replacment nominated, should all senators up for re-election in 2018 be precluded from voting? Should senators who have announced their retirements (e.g., Orrin Hatch) abstain from voting?

    Should Rodney Frelinghuysen abstain on all votes for the 9 months remaining on his term because he has announced his retirement?

    I’m not seeing the story here, other than, perhaps, Caldwell Gross erring in not personally informing the Mayor of his intention to accept a position in Indianapolis in the future.

Comments are closed.