Could former South Orange Maplewood Schools Superintendent John Ramos, who resigned last summer after just two tumultuous years, have a hand in choosing his replacement?

It’s possible since Ramos works for one of the search firms that initially submitted proposals for the contract to conduct the search, Hazard Young Attea Associates (HYA) of Schaumburg, IL.

HYA, along with Ray and Associates Inc. of Cedar Rapids, IA and SLF Consulting of Manassas, VA., submitted proposals for the first round of requests to be hired as a consultant on the search for a new superintendent. Although the school board voted last week to reject the proposals, it did so only so that it could “revise the specifications” for the bidding, according to the resolution passed on May 29 in a special meeting.

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All three firms, and any others, are allowed to submit proposals again for the search firm contract prior to the June 21 deadline.

The HYA website lists Ramos as an “east coast associate,” who could presumably be involved in the search effort.

Ramos stepped down in August 2017 after just two years on the job. The board then hired interim Superintendent Thomas Ficarra.

Ramos did not respond to requests for comment on the potential conflict of interest and district spokesperson Suzanne Turner stated via email last Thursday, “Thanks for the question. I’ll have to get back to you once I have a definite answer.” We’re still waiting.

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Local baseball teams have had some rough going on the two-town fields in the past week with a South Orange Maplewood Baseball youth league 14-year-old baseball game at Cameron Field in South Orange being cancelled when the lights did not work and another Columbia High School varsity game slated for the home turf at Underhill Field having to be relocated because the grass was too high.

As CHS Athletic Director Larry Busichio exclaimed in an e-mail to parents: "We have moved today’s game to Cameron Field in South Orange for 4pm. Underhill’s grass hasn’t been cut for a while, and even with my constant calls the past two days, whatever company the district is using to outsource this work never showed. I’m not playing a varsity baseball game on that knee-high grass.”

And these are not the first instances of shabby maintenance on the fields. Kind of notable given that both towns instituted a special $20 per-player maintenance fee each season just two years ago. Glad to see the money is going to good use.

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Finally, if you thought Maplewood Township Committeeman Frank McGehee was just another local public official with civic pride, tireless involvement, and a strong opinion on Notre Dame football, think again. He’s also become something of a local radio personality.

Yes, that’s his soothing voice on nearby WZYE Radio every Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in a local program dubbed, “The Grassroots Collective.”

Since the show debuted a few weeks ago it has tackled SOMA subjects such as climate change, race and the Caribbean community. Get a taste of the show HERE and tune in next Sunday morning at 95.9 FM.