Monday, April 28, 2008

BOE to Organize Tuesday

With last year’s June 8 emergency meeting issue still unresolved, three incumbents will be sworn in for three-year terms and the Plainfield Board of Education will choose a new president tomorrow for a one-year term.

The annual organization meeting will begin at 8 p.m.Tuesday (April 29, 2008) in the Plainfield High School library, 950 Park Ave.

Incumbents Agurs Linward Cathcart Jr., Bridget B. Rivers and Vickey Sheppard won re-election on April 15.

The organization meeting includes numerous other resolutions for the 2008-09 school year, including naming of legal counsel. A proposed resolution names the firm of Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley to serve as counsel for Workers’ Compensation and Labor/Personnel “until a selection is made with regards to the RFP (Request for Proposals) that was previously distributed.” But there is no mention on the agenda of who will serve as general counsel for 2008-09.

By coincidence, minutes of the controversial June 8 meeting were finally posted on the district web site yesterday. It was at that meeting almost a year ago that attorney Raymond Hamlin allegedly improperly took part in the hiring of interim superintendent Peter E. Carter and failed to let the board know that Carter was his client in another matter, according to findings of the state Department of Education’s Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance.

The agency also said in its October report that the June 8 minutes must be made public.

The emergency meeting took place just weeks after Patricia Barksdale was chosen to serve as board president. Superintendent Paula Howard had resigned June 6 after an abortive board meeting the night before. At the June 8 meeting, the board accepted Howard’s resignation and hired Carter, who in turn recommended Michael Donow as interim business administrator. According to the October report, Barksdale was the only board member who knew of Carter’s relationship with Hamlin.

In January, the state DOE office denied the school board’s December appeal of the report’s findings, but the board made a further appeal.

Hunt, Hamlin & Ridley will still serve as general counsel until the school business year ends June 30.

To read the Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance report, click here. To read the June 8 minutes, click here.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether it is municipal government or the BOE, it is all about patronage. Now, I would normally not object to patronage, being a receipant my self. However, I object to those patronage practices that do not benefit the citizens of Plainfield. The Barsdale/Hamlin/Carter relationship is an abuse of power by those serving the public. Since it is all about billable hours, I am not surprised that Hamlin would appeal, with BOE approval, the DOE ruling of impropiety. Oh well, it's just money -tax payers money.

12:38 PM  

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