West New York school board trustee removed by NJSEC

The state School Ethics Commission removed Trustee Ismail Dalia because he had not filed a financial disclosure

A West New York Board of Education Trustee has been removed from his seat by the New Jersey School Ethics Commission (NJSEC). Trustee Ismail Dalia was appointed to the nine-member volunteer school board in January 2021 and re-elected under the “Your Children’s Future” slate in April of that year.

Dalia was removed from his position after formal action from NJSEC Chairman Robert Bender, because Dalia had not filed a financial disclosure form since being appointed to the board in 2021. The vacancy of the seat was announced to the public at the board’s Nov. 30 meeting, and shortly thereafter his information wiped from the school district website.

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The NJSEC has the power to reprimand, censure, suspend or remove board trustees from office. In this case, Dalia was removed for not having submitted any financial disclosure forms.

On the board, he served as the chair of the Community Relations committee, as well as a member of the Facilities and Grounds and Negotiations committee. He was serving a term from April 2021 to April 2024.

In an interview, Board of Education President Adam Parkinson told the Hudson Reporter that Dalia had been removed by the NJSEC last month. He added that the board could have removed Dalia for the absences but opted not to in respect of the voters in 2021.

“The New Jersey School Ethics Commission removed him last month,” Parkinson said. “We read it at our last school board meeting. The School Ethics Commission can do one of four things. They can reprimand school board members, censure them, suspend them, or remove them from office.” 

Absentee trustee?

According to Parkinson, Dalia was not present at meetings in a while. He said that he may not have been present at any of the meetings for this calendar year.  

“To be honest, Ismail was not really showing up to school board meetings for quite some time,” Parkinson said. “The board did have the authority to remove him at that time for missing so many consecutive meetings. We didn’t feel like it was our authority, though, because the West New York voters spoke in April of 2021 for him to be on the school board and we wanted to respect the will of the voters.”

However, now the board does not have to act on the matter. The School Ethics Commission already made its decision and Dalia is off the board.

“The School Ethics Commission ultimately decided and we wish him all the best,” Parkinson said. “The voters spoke in 2021. They elected him. We were not going to overthrow the will of the voters. We could have removed him and we had the authority to remove him, but we wanted to respect what the voters decided back in 2021.” 

As for Dalia’s replacement, the board will advertise the vacant seat and consider whom to appoint from the applicants. That will take place at the next board meeting.

“We have the application process, just like we’ve had whenever there’s been a vacancy,” Parkinson said. “It’s become standard practice. Whenever we’ve had a vacancy, it’s advertised. We interview, then we select based off of that.” 

Replacement to be appointed soon

At the upcoming meeting, the board will have to pass a resolution appointing a new trustee to fill the unexpired term of the seat left by Dalia. The board meets next on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. at West New York Middle School at 201 57th St. For more information, go to wnyschools.net.

Dalia did not respond to Hudson Reporter requests for comment.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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