School Board Opts To Leave Seat Open

(Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

JACKSON – Board of Education members accepted the resignation of Michael Hanlon during a Nov. 22 meeting. Hanlon resigned on Oct. 20.

Board members praised Hanlon’s long tenure of service and his work on a variety of board committees that he served on over the years.

Allison Erwin, the district’s coordinator of communications and technology said that “there are few committees that Mr. Hanlon hasn’t served on or project he hasn’t touched over the years.”

Hanlon served on the board for 14 years. Superintendent Dr. Stephen Genco said Hanlon resigned due to his moving out of the township. His residency in Jackson is a requirement to remain on the board.

The Board decided during the session not to fill his spot with an interim member given the short period of time before a newly elected member would take office before the end of the year.

Board Attorney Nicholas Montenegro said that there was no regulation dictating how the board could fill the vacancy but that “it did have a 65-day window to fill the position or the Ocean County School Superintendent will fill it.”

Montenegro said that given the past precedent of how long the selection process is (the board would have to solicit interested residents, conduct interviews, and vote to pick someone), the member would end up serving for only a span of five days in late December when the school district would be closed for the holiday vacation.

“Past practice has shown that what the board has done is normally accept the resignation on the date it was offered, which is Oct. 20, but it is effective when he moves plus 65 days,” he said. “This will run us into Dec. 24 and our reorganization meeting is Jan. 3.”

Board member Vikki Grasso asked what the board would need to do to take no action regarding the vacancy since it would not seem to be practical to go through the application process.

Montenegro said choosing to do nothing would be sufficient and therefore the board took no action on the vacancy beyond accepting Hanlon’s resignation.

Board President Scott Sargent agreed with the plan saying filling the spot at this point was “just not practical.”

The board’s newest member, Tara Rivera, will take office in January 2018 during the board’s reorganization meeting.

Members of the Jackson School Board (Photo by Bob Vosseller)

Sargent noted that even if Rivera could be sworn in early “she couldn’t vote on anything anyway” at the board’s next meeting on Dec. 9.

“If not for this holiday (vacation) situation filling the spot might be worth considering but I think it is better in this case to do nothing, Grasso said.

In other board business, given that the board meeting was held days prior to Thanksgiving, Grasso took the opportunity to thank all the volunteer advisors and coaches that donate their time to the school district.

“We have 13 advisors for clubs and 17 coaches. We want to say thank you to these 30 people,” Grasso said.