UPDATED: Pellecchia Throws Parks Off All But One Berkeley Board of Ed Committee

School board president says choices were his to make, denies there was any political retaliation


Wednesday Berkeley Board of Education member was a member of the board's education committee and sat on two other board committees.

Today she is a member of one committee.

"I have been thrown off every committee I have been on, except for policy," she said. "I am sitting on one committee. Every school board member should be treated equally and be given the right amount of committees."

Board President -who replaced former longtime board president when Byrnes was appointed to a seat on the Township Council on Jan. 1 - reshuffled the committee appointments. Board members were notified of their new committees by e-mail Thursday, Parks said.

Pellecchia said today the committee assignments were his choices.

"Dawn Parks is dead wrong when she says I kicked her off," he said. "Those were my choices. I relieved her of that (the two other committees) but she is still on the Stokes foundation. The foundation hasn't done anything for the children. She's got her hands full with getting these children to Stokes Forest and I relieved her."

While all of the other board members are members of two or three committees, Parks is the only one with one assignment. She was also a member of the buildings and grounds committee and the cafeteria and transportation committee for the past two years.

There is a history between Parks, Pellecchia and Superintendent of Schools .

Parks and former board member Patrick Riley filed an ethics complaint against Pellecchia in late December 2010 and later amended it in February 2011.

The two claimed that Pellecchia had violated state school ethics laws by participating in a vote as superintendent while he (Pellecchia) was an seasonal employee of the Ocean County Board of Elections.

The state School Ethics Commission found that Pellechia had violated state statues by participating in the vote and making the motion to appoint Vicari, who is also an Ocean County Freeholder.

Vicari returned to the district in April 2011, after a two-year absence. A previous board in 2008 declined to renew his contract, a move Vicari claimed was engineered by the Democratic majority on the board at the time. Parks is a member of the Berkeley Township Democratic Club.

Pellecchia said he appealed the ruling eight months ago to clear his name, but there has been no decision yet.

"I'm either guilty or not guilty," he said. "I don't work for the Ocean County Board of Freeholders, I work for the Ocean County Board of Elections. I wish the state would get off their butts."

Pellecchia also denied there was anything political in the committee reshuffling

"I have no political ambitions," he said. "She's the one making the moves in November. She's the biggest politician. I only want to see these children are educated properly."

Vicari defended Pellechia at the Feb. 9 board meeting and mentioned the ethics commission complaint.

"We don't need that kind of controversy in Berkeley Township," Vicari said.

He also told the board to , since he will step down on March 31. Vicari said earlier this year he planned to step down before the April school board elections, to avoid any political controversy that might affect the vote on the school budget's tax levy.

But the school election has since been moved to November. Vicari said at the Feb. 9 board meeting he was leaving early because Parks was the only member of the school board to give him an unfavorable evaluation.

The changes Pellecchia made to the education committee assignments today resulted in the cancellation of the meeting with the on Friday.

"I think they are trying to hold off and basically are saying this class isn't going," Parks said.

The previous education committee consisted of Parks, Fulcomer and board member Salvatore Ferlise.

"I am really, really done," Parks said. "Everyone is not out for the kids. All they are doing is thinking about their political situations and worrying if they can keep Joe Vicari. I'm not stepping down. I'm just going to make their lives miserable."

Fulcomer said this evening he hoped the Stokes trip will still go forward. He introduced a motion at the Feb. 9 meeting that called for the trip to continue, but with a $150 price tag for the parents of each child. The board passed the resolution.

"We have to honor that committment," he said. "The only thing we have when we leave office is honesty, and that means keeping your promises."

Fulcomer also said the committee appointments are the "prerogative" of the board president. He had asked to be assigned to the consolidation/shared services committee last year, when Byrnes was president, but was not appointed. The committee never met last year, he said.

Pellecchia appointed him chairman of the committee today.

"I'm not going to wait nine months to hold a meeting," Fulcomer said. "When I chaired the education committee, we met every month."

The committee assignments are as follows:

Education: David Ytreboe, Sophia Gingrich, Noriko Kowalewski.

Personnel and Negotiations: Gringrich, Kowalewski, Pellecchia.

Buildings and Grounds, Cafeteria and Transportation: Louis Tuminaro, Fulcomer, Ytreboe.

Finance: Kowalewski, Gringrich, John MacMoyle.

Community Relations: Salvatore Ferlise, Fulcomer, MacMoyle.

Consolidation/Shared Services: Fulcomer, Gingrich, Tuminaro.

Policy and Legislation: Parks, Tuminaro, Ferlise.

MacMoyle, Tuminaro and Ytreboe were all appointed this year to replace Brynes, John Bacchione and Thomas Grosse, who are now Township Council members.

BayvilleDad February 25, 2012 at 01:48 PM
No one is forcing you to read them. There are other web sites you can visit.
M'Linda Kula February 25, 2012 at 05:22 PM
@ Hearme and Bayville for 40 years: When the (been in office for far to long) officials are replaced by " SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE" the citizens will not need a good attorney. If the citizens are looking for a champion of the people, may I suggest: Attorney Clifford L. Van Syoc # 856-429-6444 / 401 Kings Hwy., S# 1a., Cherry Hill, NJ. 08034
Josephine Manfre February 25, 2012 at 05:40 PM
First of all, I believe Mr. Pellechia is incorrect- it is my understanding that the Stokes Foundation is an autonomous body. It is NOT a Board of Education committee. It would be like saying the PTA is a BOE committee and it clearly is not. So if this is the case, to say he left Mrs. Parks on the Stokes Committee is extremely erroneous. Being that Mr. Pellecchia is now president of the Board of Education- I'm a little, no wait, I'm a lot concerned that he isn’t aware of this. More to the point... as a member of the Berkeley Township Environmental Education Program Foundation (Stokes Foundation) I take umbrage and am completely outraged over his comment that, "The foundation hasn't done anything for the children." Mr. Pellechia, you have CLEARLY been out of the loop. I have sat back long enough and watched with disgust what goes on at the board meetings and behind the scenes, and you sir are about to be educated on all you have missed. When you so glibly make defamatory statements about the BTEEPF and expect no reaction from its members … to paraphrase Admiral Yamamoto, "I fear all you have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill them with a terrible resolve." I look forward to speaking at the next BOE meeting on March 8th.
Hearme February 25, 2012 at 11:30 PM
I'm glad to see people outraged! I hope everyone that is outraged goes and fights to get this joke of a school board out. I would like to see almost all of them recalled. They have been a disgrace to this town for far to long. As a matter of fact all the politics in this town have been a disgrace in this town for far to long. I wish I had the power to walk in and fire everyone of these jokers who try to act like we are stupid and don't know what their real agenda is. Surprise, we do! I hope the parents finally get angry enough to vote out all you idiots.
Slammah March 06, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Did anyone ever notice the losers from the last school election are now back in power or on some committee?


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