For the first time in over 35 years, the Bayonne Board of Education saw five elected trustees take their oaths of office before voting Joseph Broderick president and Dennis Wilbeck vice president.
Trustees Joseph Broderick, Ava Finnerty, Christopher Munoz, Christopher Piechocki and Dennis Wilbeck took their oaths of office administered by Bayonne Clerk Robert Sloan.
Mayor Jimmy Davis, who endorsed incumbent Piechocki and Wilbeck, sent a letter to Bayonne BOE addressing the recently elected members.
“The five newly elected members of the board of education are now free to represent the best interest of their constituents, taxpayers, teachers, administrators and most importantly, the children of the City of Bayonne as they see fit.”
Next on the agenda was the appointment the Bayonne Board of Education president.
It was Trustee Theodore Garelick who nominated incumbent Will Lawson, who seconded the nomination himself.
While Trustee Mikel Lawandy was hesitant in voting against nominating Lawson, it was Piechocki who wanted clarification with the qualifications and interests of Broderick taking the seat as president.
“I was just interested in knowing if Mr. Broderick does have an interest in taking the position as president.”
Although barely audible to the audience, Lawson replied to Piechocki that his question was not relative to the current issue at hand: which was to vote on his nomination as president.
“The citizens would want some change, they seem to be moving in that direction, so I’m going to have to vote no,” stated Piechocki.
Wilbeck nominated Broderick as president and it was seconded by Finnerty.
Before Broderick voted, he answered Piechocki’s questions on qualifications reminding the board and the public that he has “been in education for 45 years, 35 of those years spent right here at [the] Bayonne Board of Education.”
Broderick also pointed out that people wanted an election because they wanted to see a change in policies, of which he is willing to facilitate.
The final vote was 7-2m with Garelick and Lawson voting no.
Lawson stated that when he first “became the board president there was a severe learning curve” and explained why he was voting against Broderick’s nomination.
“I just think there are some concerns there when it comes to experience.”
The first item that was mentioned by newly appointed Bayonne BOE President Broderick was the teacher’s contract so the board can concentrate on new policies, the quality of education and capacity of classrooms – considering all the new housing developments in Bayonne.
As for the board’s vice president, Finnerty nominated Wilbeck, which was seconded by Munoz.
The vote was unanimous.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I will do everything in my power to help the teachers, students, families throughout the City of Bayonne, so help me God,” stated newly elected Board Vice President Wilbeck.