MONTCLAIR, NJ - Nearly a week has passed since a complaint was filed with the New Jersey Education Commissioner regarding the residency of Montclair Board of Education Vice President Franklin Turner.
As of Wednesday, David Herron, who filed the initial complaint, says that he is pleased with a recent court ruling. He wrote, "The NJ Supreme Court, ruled today, that home addresses of public official are not private."
The ruling Herron is referring to is, Brennan V. Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, which is referring to a case where Brennan demanded to know the names of vendors whom he alleges sold him memorabilia that wasn't authentic. The ruling states: “To guard against possible abuses, the public has a right to know what property was sold, at what price, and to whom. OPRA’s plain terms call for disclosure of that type of recorded information, including the names and addresses of successful bidders,” Rabner wrote. “To hold otherwise would jeopardize OPRA’s purpose: to maximize public knowledge about public affairs in order to ensure an informed citizenry and to minimize the evils inherent in a secluded process.”
Herron alleges that the ruling in this case, supports his complaint against Turner.
Herron, a Montclair resident, filed a complaint on May 18 alleging that Turner does not meet the residency requirements for a board member.
In the complaint, Herron alleges that has been residing with various friends and family members since separating from his wife and is therefore ineligible to serve on the board. Turner’s subsequent removal from the board is requested, a position he has held since 2016. There has been no further movement on the complaint filed by Herron.
A BOE member must be a resident of the district for at least one year immediately preceding his or her appointment or election, NJ law states. According to N.J.S.A. 18A:12-3, whenever a member of a local board of education shall cease to be a bona fide resident of the district which he represents, his membership to the board shall immediately cease.
When Turner was sworn-in in 2016, he used the Upper Mountain Avenue address. However, the complaint refutes this claiming that Turner had been separated from his wife and did not reside there at that time.
The last known address for Turner is his family’s former address on Upper Mountain Avenue, which records indicate was sold in September 2017. According to the complaint, Turner lists 41 Watchung Plaza, Apt. 110, as his street address under seller's information on a State of New Jersey Seller's Residency Certification/Exemption form dated Sept. 6, 2017.
The complaint alleges that Turner has since been couch-hopping in an effort to continue to hold his position as a BOE member, indicating that he is also using a UPS mailbox as his address. 41 Watchug Plaza #110 is the address to the UPS store.
In a statement addressing the allegations during the May 16th BOE meeting, Turner maintains that he lives in Montclair.
During the BOE meeting, Turner paraphrased a recent interview stating, “...I will not answer any more questions about my residency, I will not legitimize this interview or the allegations.”