BRICK-Led by education insider John Lamella, a Jackson Township School District Administrator, the newly seated Brick Township Board of Education members lined up all of the school district professionals and executed an order to fire them all.
The Clean Slate Team, a Democrat led movement that swept the Toms River Regional School District board in recent years claimed victory this past November in Brick Township with the election of Lamela, Victoria Pakala and Stephanie Wohlrab. The three took their seats on Thursday night to gain the voting majority on the board.
As reported in the Brick Patch, “The ink was barely dry on the oaths of office when the new members of the Brick Township Board of Education made it clear who is running the show now.”
The move was reminiscent to the infamous “Order 66”, portrayed on-screen in the blockbuster movie, “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith”, which ordered the execution of all Jedi loyal to the Old Republic, in order to give the Sith and Darth Vader complete control of the galactic senate
The action to execute the order to terminate the contracts of the Republican partisans who hold professional appointments railroaded the other board members who were given the new agenda minutes before the meeting.
The move, which was essentially pulled out of Lamela’s pocket during the meeting, completes the New Jersey Democrat’s takeover of township services, now the majority powerbrokers on both the municipal and board of education sides of the township, with millions of dollars in play for professional contract services, possibly to be given to Democrat partisans in the coming months.
To expedite the takeover, new board member Pakala changed the upcoming meeting schedule, changing the January 28th meeting to January 14th.
It was then that Pakala broke the news about the action to fire the board’s Republican leaning professionals.
The board appointed long-time Democrat and Point Pleasant Lawyer Nick Montenegro as the board’s attorney.
In June of 1996, an ethics claim was filed against the then sitting school board after Republicans fired Montenegro as the school board’s auditor. The New Jersey School Board Ethics Commission dropped the complaint and found no wrongdoing in that action. As the saying goes, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”
Lamela was named school board president with just minutes of experience on the board over the more veteran incumbents. He is a public employee of the Jackson School District, earning $141,000 per year in salary.
Veteran school board member Karyn Cusanelli raised her concerns over the legality of the broad move, calling it a “Scorched Earth” policy.
Of the professionals who will lose their jobs, even including the district physician, Lamela welcomed them to reapply for their jobs, adding, “We might keep them.”
The Clean Slate team’s favor however has waned in Toms River in recent months. Hailed as the saviors of the Toms River School District in the post-Michael Ritacco era, the Clean Slate was defeated in Toms River as voters sought a less politically connected school board in that township. Led by Ben Giovine, the Clean Slate in that town faces an uphill battle to regain the respect of voters in future elections.
Like the Clean Slate in Brick, the Toms River Clean Slate’s first actions as the guardians of education in their town was to fire non-aligned professionals and replace them with Democrat partisans.
Lamela later admitted that the agenda was his making prior to being sworn in.
“Right or wrong, I got sworn in tonight,” he balked at Cusanelli who raised the legal concern over the move of a private citizen drafting the board’s agenda.
So for now, millions of dollars in school board appointments and contracts are back in play, raising concerns over possible pay-to-play motives behind the move.
In Brick, local blogger and former editor of the Brick Patch, Daniel Nee referred to Thursday night’s meeting as a “Massacre”.
A similar attempt in Jackson this past November by local Democrats to wrestle control of that school board was met with failure as Jackson voters chose board members with little to no political affiliation.
In the old days, those who seize power would sometimes execute their opponents. In the 21st century, the termination of professionals and appointing of new ones is the modern form of public execution in America.