To the editor:
Suppose you didn't show up for work 40 to 50 percent of the time. Think your boss would fire you?
North Hunterdon Vorhees High School board member Roger Straight didn't have time to show up for over 40 percent of board meetings during 2016. He supposedly "represents" Clinton Township and Lebanon Borough.
Another thing Roger didn't have time to do, he told friends, was file for re-election. That meant his name would not be on last November's ballot. So Roger and his friends ran a write-in campaign via e-mail and Facebook.
Roger got re-elected for another two-year term with 120 write-in votes to represent more than 13,000 Clinton Township residents.
Roger missed seven meetings of 17 including three in a row in April, May and June. Under N.J. statute, missing three meetings in a row permits the school board to remove him. But the board didn't remove Straight. They let him stay on for the ride without showing up.
Clinton Township has three other members on the board. Sandra Seidorf missed just one meeting in 2016. Lisa Approvato had perfect attendance. Marc Strauss missed three meetings. Did it bother them that Roger wasn't showing up? Why didn't they stand up and warn us? What's surprising is that Approvato campaigned for Roger on her Facebook. Why?
Board member Megan Lehman-Wranitz's record is worse than Roger's. She missed more than half the 2016 meetings - 9 of 17. She "represents" Town of Clinton, Franklin and Glen Gardner. They re-elected her, too.
Roger and Megan have failed their fiduciary responsibility for a $62 million budget. NHV students, parents and taxpayers deserve better. Why didn't the board notify the public, conduct a hearing, or disclose these truancies?
NHVSD does not keep or publish an attendance report for school board meetings. I had to go through minutes of 17 meetings to tally up attendance by hand. The district must start keeping board attendance records on one clear report and publish it monthly on the website so we know who shows up.
When any board member misses the statutory three meetings in a row, the board has an obligation to take the matter up in a public meeting and decide whether to terminate a member who does not show up. The board owes voters transparency - and information we need to help us decide whether to re-elect a board member.
Do you know whether your town's high school board members show up? The full 2016 attendance report is not available from NHVSD. You can find it at www.exmayor.com.
Nick Corcodilos, former mayor
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