LETTER: Bayonne BOE guilty of playing politics at reorg meeting, ex-candidate says

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In a letter to the editor, former Bayonne Board of Education candidate Hector Gonzalez says that the governing body is guilty of playing politics at their recent reorganization meeting. 

Dear Editor,

“Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark.” This phrase is taken from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. The reason of saying this is just not that Denmark is facing dirt.

It means that the situation of Denmark is similar to a fish that rots from head to tail, or in other words, it shows that everything is not good at top of political hierarchy.

And so goes the state of the Bayonne Board of Education Trustees.

During the Bayonne BOE reorganization meeting, a trustee was selected to fill a vacancy that was created by the resignation of Michael Mulcahy who won a one-year term for the BOE.

Instead of picking the candidate with the second highest vote total, which seems to be
the most logical choice, the trustees selected Charles Ryan to fill that spot; a candidate
who did not even run in the one-year term and who came in 6th place in the voting for a
three-year term.

Let me be clear, three didn’t. Three had the courage to stand with the voters of Bayonne.

Trustees Jodi Casias, Christopher Munoz, and Maria Valado made it clear they stand
with Bayonne. But, the big question is why? Why would the BOE trustees do that? This
was about the balance of power on the board of education.

There were a group of trustees that believed we shouldn’t continue as business as
usual and that we needed to start to affect real and permanent change.

It seemed that Trustee Michael Alonso was joining the reformer faction of the board but at the last minute turned against the group in favor of the old guard.

You see, if they picked any other candidate that was being considered, they most likely
would have joined the reformer faction of trustees and that could not be allowed to
happen; it had to Charles Ryan at all cost.

Even though the Administrators Union’s legal team was there begging the trustees, not to appoint Ryan and the BOE will most likely face lawsuits or future grievances because of the selection of Ryan.

There was nothing more evident than that when the voting took place for new trustee
and BOE Leadership. Alonso was the fifth and deciding vote for Ryan and with Ryan
back on the board along with Alonso’s vote, Broderick’s and Wilbeck’s place as the BOE
leadership was cemented.

I wondered what Alonso’s payment would be: jobs for family and friends, influence, a
parking spot: it had to be something.

I wasn’t sure until I saw this year’s committee assignments for the Bayonne BOE.

To my surprise, Trustee Alonso was made Chairperson of the Finance Committee. Alonso had replaced Trustee Munoz as Finance Chair.

So, let me get this straight. Michael Alonso, the same board trustee that was accused
by several candidates of stealing campaign literature during the election, there is
photographic and video evidence, has been placed in a position to have an enormous
influence over a $130 million budget.

The same Michael Alonso that told the Senior Citizens of Bayonne that he was going to
get them a tax waiver or exemption from school tax is in charge of the budget.

The same Michael Alonso, who stated that he will not vote for a tax increase under no
circumstances no matter what the situation and does not appear to be pretending to
have an open-mind, is in charge of the finance committee.

The same Michael Alonso that thought that changing the name of the BHS Tennis courts was a good idea instead of worrying about the children of Bayonne.

Which by the way, this is the same Michael Alonso that attacked President Broderick and his family. So, why would this be done?

I’ll tell you, say it with me, “Quid Pro Quo.” A Quid Pro Quo is a favor or advantage granted
or expected in return for something.

I believe Michael Alonso sold his vote in order to be the Chairperson of Finance to have
control of the school budget and push his Republican, Tea Party agenda. Cut at all cost.

How many programs will be cut, jobs lost, and educational opportunities squandered
under Alonso’s watch?

The Finance Committee under Trustee Mary Jane Desmond and Trustee Christopher Munoz turned losses into gains and turned the BOE finances around; this was also an obvious snub to Munoz.

You see, the reformer faction was going to nominate Trustee Munoz as the new President of the BOE. A role, I understand he was going to reluctantly accept.

Removing Trustee Munoz as Finance Chair was punishment for him for having the
audacity to consider challenging the leadership and reward for Trustee Alonso for
selling his vote.

Trustee Wilbeck even went so far as to attack Munoz saying he was not qualified to be President because Trustee Munoz had a family to support.

I thought hard work was rewarded in this country? Don’t parents and teachers make a difference? I am following this whole situation very closely and you should too.

We want a Bayonne BOE that actually fulfills the promise of an elected school board; not the appearance of one that mimics the old appointed board.

But hey, this is my opinion. There is something rotten in Bayonne and its coming out of
669 Avenue A.

Hector Gonzalez
Bayonne Resident