At the September 6, 2017 meeting of the West New York Board of Education, the Board voted to appoint Town of West New York Commissioner Gabriel Rodriguez to a position titled Accounting Manager at $95,000 per year.
Five Trustees voted yes, three Trustees voted no and one Trustee abstained. The deciding vote was cast by Jonathan Castañeda who serves as chief of staff to West New York Mayor Felix Roque.
Mr Castañeda vote is an obvious conflict of interest and an ethical violation. Mr Castañeda has previously abstained from voting on all matters that involve the Town of West New York, including shared service agreements.
It is also my understanding that Commissioner Rodriguez has no accounting experience at all and this position of Accounting Manager was newly created.
I urge the Board to reverse this decision because it is in the best interest of the children of West New York and the taxpayers of West New York whose property taxes have increased relentlessly the past few years.
As the head of the West New York Teacher’s union said at the meeting, $95,000 would allow the district to hire another teacher to alleviate crowded classrooms.
Editor’s Note: Behncke is running on the Save Our Schools ticket with Melinda Saunders and Alex Navas.