Elected BBOED Trustee resigns before starting

Cites an out-of-town opportunity

Michael Mulcahy never got out of the gate
Michael Mulcahy never got out of the gate

Michael Mulcahy, recently elected to a one-year term on the Bayonne Board of Education (BBOED), has resigned his seat before he would have been sworn in on January 3. The timing of Mulcahy’s resignation leaves the BBOED having to fill his seat.

The resignation is due to an employment opportunity that requires Mulcahy to move out of Bayonne. Bayonne residency is required to be a BBOED trustee.

Mulcahy works as a zoning officer for the town of Keyport in Monmouth County, NJ, and has accepted expanded job opportunities in that area. Mulcahy beat four other candidates for a one-year term to the BBOED with nearly 30 percent of the vote after employing perhaps the most comprehensive social media campaign of all the candidates.

“I’ve worked very hard to be elected and that’s what’s frustrating about this,” Mulcahy said. “I wouldn’t be able to give the board the time it deserves. An opportunity presented itself and I have to take it. I’m confident that the board, who has their heart in the right place, will do right by the taxpayers.”

This is the second time this year that the BBOED is tasked with filling a resigned trustee’s seat. Mary Jane Desmond resigned in the spring, leading to the appointment of Mikel Lawandy, who lost his bid for a one-year term to Mulcahy in November, while Desmond lost her bid for a three-year term.

“Now this responsibility falls back into our laps, so here we are again.”– Joseph Broderick

“Personally, I was surprised when I heard. If he were to change his mind prior to the county approving the final election results, it probably would have gone to the next vote-getter,” said BBOED President Joseph Broderick. “Now this responsibility falls back into our laps, so here we are again.”

The BBOED will establish a three-member committee to interview interested applicants who began sending resumes on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The interviews will be conducted on Dec. 21; the appointee will be sworn in at the BBOED reorganization meeting on Jan. 3.

Mary Jane Desmond, who resigned the seat Mulcahy won in November, is available and likely willing to serve as trustee; she ran unsuccessfully for a three-year term in November. Desmond resigned to avoid a conflict of interest when a family member was applying for a teaching position at the BBOED. The BBOED replaced her with former trustee Mikel Lawandy, who went on to lose his bid for a one-year term by a narrow margin.

Sometimes, boards appoint the next vote-getter. Hector Gonzalez Jr. came in second to Mulcahy with 21.5 percent of the vote. Who is ultimately appointed, however, is anybody’s guess.

Mulcahy’s resignation is the latest development in a wild BBOED election. The race between former business administrator and educator, Leo Smith, and incumbent trustee Ava Finnerty, came down to the wire when the Hudson County Board of Elections ordered a manual recount, which resulted in the same narrow outcome. Finnerty stayed ahead of Smith by 19 votes when all was said and done.

The new trustees will be tasked with a multitude of responsibilities, including hiring a new superintendent. The BBOED declined to renew former Superintendent Patricia McGeehan’s contract in 2017, leading to the appointment of Interim Superintendent Michael A. Wanko, whose contract expires in June of 2019.

Rory Pasquariello can be reached at roryp@hudsonreporter.com