Was outgoing Jersey City school board trustee eligible to vote on superintendent contract?
Aug 17, 2012 | 2853 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JERSEY CITY - When outgoing Jersey City Board of Education trustee Marvin Adames sent out a press statement on Aug. 2 announcing his resignation, most parents and members of the public assumed the resignation was effective immediately. After all, the press statement specifically said the resignation was effective immediately.

As it turns out, Adames had not officially given written notification of his resignation to Board Chairwoman Suzanne Mack. Adames did not officially resign until 3 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 17.

In an e-mailed letter sent from his iPhone, Adames wrote to Mack:

Dear Madam President:

In the recent past, I announced my intent to resign from my position as a Board Member of the Jersey City Public Schools, and thus my position as Vice President.

My swearing-in to be a Newark Municipal Judge takes place today, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 at 5p.m. As a member of the judiciary, I will no longer be allowed to participate on the board.

Consequently, I officially resign my post on the board today, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 at 3 p.m. It has been a great pleasure to serve; I am certain the District will continue to achieve and find success.

I can schedule a time to turn in my laptop, IPad, ID, car placard, Board Office key and any other items that may be required. Thank you much for your commitment to the Board, the District and each student in the Jersey City Public Schools.

Marvin Adames

Sent from my iPhone

Mack later posted the following statement to her Facebook page:

"I have recieved Marvin's resignation effective today at 3pm. I will accept it formally on August 30th at which time I will call for nomination to replace him from the remaining members as Vice Chair. We will also announce the process we will entertain to fill his seat until the next Board election in April 2013, In that election there will be four seats up 3 for 3 year

terms and 1 for a one year term expiring in 2014. The 65 days we have to fill the seat begins today. We wish Marvin and his family the best as he embarks on his Judgeship."

Why it's significant

The exact timing of Adames' official resignation is significant because on Wednesday, Aug. 15, the remaining eight board members deadlocked over whether or not to ratify a contract for incoming superintendent of schools Dr. Marcia Lyles. Lyles' $231,000-a-year contract failed to be ratified Wednesday when the board vote was split 4-4.

Adames did not attend Wednesday's meeting and did not participate in the vote, which made sense if he resigned on Aug. 2. Given that his resignation was not official until Aug. 17, it is likely he could have participated in all board matters until then. Indeed, he could have cast the deciding vote to ratify Lyles' contract.

Instead, the 4-4 vote likely killed the original contract and will now force the board and Lyles to renegotiate her terms of employment.

In the meantime, some residents are now asking whether Adames' absence from the ratification vote will further complicate matters. According to state law, school boards can "contract a superintendent of schools by the recorded roll call majority vote of the full membership of the board."

Since the full Jersey City school board was not present for the Aug. 15 ratification vote, because Adames was absent, it is not clear whether the ratification vote is valid. - E. Assata Wright

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