Fulcomer Says Minutes Incorrect, Asks For Amendment
Berkeley Board of Ed members approve the minutes as is, no tape recording of meeting available
Berkeley Board of Education Vice-President James Fulcomer recently refused to approve the minutes of the May 24 meeting because he said they don't accurately reflect what occurred.
"I don't believe the minutes should be false," he said during the Aug. 16 board meeting. "I think they should be true."
Fulcomer said back in May the board had not actually voted to hire the district's transportation coordinator, but only to close the debate on the matter.
He asked for a correction to the minutes at the Aug. 16 meeting, but did not get it.
"Why are your words the truth and the minutes not the truth?" Board President Steven Pellecchia said.
Fulcomer asked that the word "considered" be substituted for "voted on" the hiring.
He said board member Noreiko Kowalewski had moved the debate be closed, and was seconded by board member Louis Tuminaro. The vote to hire Mary Fitzpatrick was never taken, Fulcomer said.
Fulcomer also asked that his wife Cathy's comments - made during the public portion of the May 24 meeting - be added to the minutes.
Cathy Fulcomer - a former longtime teacher and Union Township Education Association representative - said during the May 24 meeting that the board had never voted on the transportation supervisor position, only closed the debate.
"Where's the recording of the meeting?" Fulcomer said. "The only vote taken was a vote to cease debate. We never voted on the main motion - the approval of the transportation appointment."
"It's very important that the minutes reflect the truth," he added. "To vote for untruthful minutes is like signing a false affadavit."
The board voted 6 to 2 against Fulcomer's amendment to the minutes at the Aug. 16 meeting. Fulcomer and board member Salvatore Ferlise voted yes. Board member Gerard Reuter - who was sworn in that night - abstained.
Fulcomer - who held a variety of offices in Union County, including freeholder before moving to Berkeley 12 years ago - said it was the first time in his years of public service he had ever voted no on approval of minutes.
"I have never voted no on minutes," he said. "These minutes are false and incorrect."
There is no recording of the May 24 board meeting, Administrator/Board Secretary Laura J. Venter said after the August 16 meeting.
Someone was filling in that night and "she just didn't press the right button," Venter said.