These days, it’s kind of tough to imagine anything the Lyndhurst Board of Education does as “being right” or “being done right”.
The financial “disasters” of past BOEs are finally officially coming to light.
In fact, the new Lyndhurst Board of Education is scheduled to hear the brutal truths of the financial lapses of past BOEs from the NJ state appointed financial auditor at the next BOE meeting, this coming Monday, January 28 at 7pm in the Lyndhurst High School Auditorium.
But hearing about the mistakes of the past is not all the Lyndhurst Board of Education will be doing on Monday night.
The Lyndhurst BOE will also be appointing a replacement for criminally compromised Trustee-elect Vincent Tunnero (the candidate backed by Commissioner and NO-BID Lyndhurst School electrical contractor John Montillo).
Will the “new” Board of Education, as is rumored, fold easily to avoid a fight and appoint Stephen Vendola, a BOE member from the past, who was the next highest vote getter after Tunnero last November 6?
It seems so. But if it is so, their appointment of Vendola makes more than a few of the newer BOE members elected in recent years fairly big hypocrites.
Stephen Vendola, a former longterm Trustee, has his fingerprints all over the Lyndhurst Board of Education’s checkered financial past. And Vendola’s wife and his daughter both are working for the Lyndhurst Public Schools today.
The Vendola family school payroll connections make appointing Stephen Vendola now a further tilt of the “new” BOE in the direction of being subject to the “Doctrine of Necessity”, just like they were in the past. (The Doctrine of Necessity is a resolution a School Board with ethical conflicts must pass in order to act legally when they have to vote but have legal conflicts, like, for example, Vendola having to vote on his family’s pay contracts as a BOE member).
The “new” President of the Lyndhurst Board of Education, Erin Keefe, is a Licensed Attorney. I would imagine Keefe knows well that Vendola’s ethical conflicts make him a very poor choice to return to the BOE.
I know for certain that Lyndhurst BOE Vice President Jim Donovan knows Vendola is the wrong choice, ethically speaking.
Why am I certain?
Well, Jim Donovan ran for the School Board by sending out a mass mailing to the voters of Lyndhurst only two years ago, promising that if he was elected, Donovan would be against conflicts-of-interest on Lyndhurst Board of Education and Donovan would be against the use of the “Doctrine of Necessity” in particular.
Remember that mailing you sent to voters in 2016, Jim?
I hope, but likely against political reality, that this “new” Board of Education (and the old BOE members still there too) wake up and realize that appointing Vendola this Monday is making the wrong choice at the wrong time. After all, it is the very same night Lyndhurst is literally being presented officially with the disastrous financial mistakes of past BOEs — including Vendola’s — costing Lyndhurst so much now.
The “new” BOE arguing that Vendola got the next highest number of votes after Tunnero and is therefore entitled to the seat, ignores that Tunnero won the seat (falsely) as an agent of change. The “new” BOE legally could (and should) appoint someone who is qualified, independent and “new” and not subject to the “Doctrine of Necessity” as is Vendola.
Arguing Vendola is entitled to the seat, also ignores that Keefe herself was chosen as the “new” Board President over a more senior and “entitled” Board member (proof this “new” Board doesn’t mind not following protocol when it has the legal power to appoint someone different than what is considered routine — as they legally can also do in replacing Tunnero).
Are the “new” Lyndhurst Board of Education Trustees going rollover and return to the failed past in their first big decision demonstrating their vision for the future in the post-President Vuono era?
Sadly, probably so.
Will taxpayers and parents fail to notice who this “new” BOE appoints to the Tunnero seat on Monday, just as they are getting hit in the guts with even more disastrous financial news about past practices (nepotism, favoritism, financial conflicts, etc.) of past BOEs that included Vendola and his allies’?
I seriously doubt voters will forget. Because the appointment of Stephen Vendola to this BOE at this time is a real statement to everyone:
It’s business as usual in Lyndhurst. Better luck next time, suckers.