BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- Emily Smith, one of seven candidates running for the Bloomfield Board of Education, allegedly violated the board’s Code of Ethics when she previously served as a trustee in 2017 according to documents obtained by TAPinto Bloomfield. Smith settled a complaint filed against her after she failed to win reelection in Nov. 2017.
Board President Jill Fischman, who is running against Smith in the upcoming election, filed the complaint in 2017 after having obtained copies of emails sent by Smith that used school email to seek employment outside the school district and to promote a college fundraising effort for Smith’s daughter. Fischman filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission of New Jersey in August 2017, citing Smith sent them earlier in the year.
“Ms. Smith has been using her seat on the Bloomfield Board of Education to gain employment in other districts by the way of having different administrators in Bloomfield call in favors or help her with job applications and references,” Fischman wrote in her complaint, noting in an additional charge, Smith had pressured school administration team members to support fundraisers for her daughter’s sorority and to have the staff purchase jewelry. In one of these emails, dated May 10, 2017, Smith wrote to a Bloomfield school official: “I can’t get my application in. My old computer no doubt. Would you do me a huge favor and forward my attached resume to South Orange Maplewood. It’s for a leave replacement job at Columbia High School. I called them but who knows if they will call back.”
In another email dated June 6, Smith asked another school official for a reference for a job in Piscataway “It’s not a teaching job, more editorial,” she wrote.
In an email earlier in 2017, Smith wrote to colleague at the Bloomfield school district, saying she was trying to sell some tricky tray tickets for her daughter’s sorority. “If you know anyone who likes to attend these things, would you please let me know? The tickets are on the pricey-side, in my opinion, but it comes with dinner and dessert and a bunch of tickets to some really good baskets. At least two will be jewelry baskets (donated by me and my former partner) and another will be for a pair of Broadway tickets to Kinky Boots, I think. My brother is stage manager for that show, and he’s donating that basket.”
Fischman, who served as board president for six months in 2016 and seeking reelection this year, said the legal costs of pursuing the complaint eventually kept the board of pursuing further action. “Her (Smith’s) attorney was also being paid for by the board,” Fischman said. “In order to cut the legal costs, we asked for a settlement. This required her to sign a document saying she would no longer use school resources for these things. When she signed, I stopped the complaint. "
”Smith did not respond to numerous attempts for comment. According to documents obtained through the Open Public Records Act, Smith, her attorney signed the settlement on June 4, 2018. Smith was first elected to the Bloomfield Board of Education in 2005, but lost her bid for reelection in 2017, but is currently seeking to return to the board in an election on Nov. 5.
This year’s election is mired in controversy since the sitting board attempted to change the date of the election from November to May after the candidates had already filed to run on Nov. 5. A court ruling will require the board to conduct the November election despite the board vote for a change.
This is not the first legal action Fischman has taken against sitting board members. In December 2016, she apparently was notified that a board member might no longer be a resident of Bloomfield, making the member ineligible to serve. A court ruled that Fischman did not provide enough evidence and dismissed the case.