Categorized | News

The Battle Continues and Old Wounds Reopened

2/10/16 Council Meeting

PERTH AMBOY –  Resolution R-83 – 2/16 – Moving the Election Date of the Perth Amboy School Board Members to the first Tuesday after the First Monday in November.

Resident Stanley Sierakowski was very interested in this resolution. As he did previously, Sierakowski told the Council Members that the Board of Education did nothing illegal when they decided to change the election to April. He then asked the Council Members, “Did you read the stature in reference to changing Municipal Elections?” Sierakowski continued, “What’s the legal basis for the Council moving the Board of Education Election back to November?”

Law Director Arlene Quinones-Perez answered Sierakowski and proceeded to read the statute: (See link here).”

Perth Amboy Republican Chair Sharon Hubberman said, “I was present at the Board of Education Special Meeting 1/12/16 at PAHS when they decided to change their election to April. I sent an OPRA request to the County Clerk and to City Clerk Jasko’s office to see if the Board of Education had sent a public notification to the newspapers 48 hours prior to the date of the meeting. I only found it online.”

Resident Alan Silber came up and wanted to know who initiated this resolution. Law Director Arlene Quinones-Perez said, “It was either initiated by the Council or the Law Director.”

Silber also had a question about the candidate chosen to be the new Business Administrator. “Was this candidate ever a Business Administrator?” There was no answer.

Resident David Caba also had questions about the salary for the Business Administrators. “Assistant Business Administrator Peter Pelissier said, “The new Business Administrator will be getting a $130,000 per year.”

Caba retorted, “I guess Councilman Fernando Gonzalez won’t hire the new B.A. because he’s not a resident. Aren’t we paying the Assistant B.A. $157,000? Doesn’t a Vice President earn less than a President?

Councilman Joel Pabon answered back to Caba, “He (Pelissier) was paid based on his experience.”

The ball went back into Caba’s court, “But the Council had an ordinance with a salary cap (with this position.)”

Pabon answered, “It was an old ordinance that we should not have voted on.”

Law Director Quinones cited the Faulkner Act, “The ordinance pertaining to the salary range is for department heads.”

Perth Amboy Democratic Chair Billy Delgado said, “We need to have an experienced Assistant Business Administrator here to help the new B.A. in his transition.”

Mayor Diaz said, “Adam Cruz, the candidate to be appointed as the new B.A. was an Assistant Business Administrator in Newark. Peter Pelissier has over 20 years experience. These are people who really want to work in the City.”

Resident Stanley Sierakowski came back later in the evening (public portion). “Nothing is official. (The date being changed back to April for the Board of Education Elections) According an article published in the Amboy Guardian in 2012, “Three Board of Education Members voted against moving the elections to November.” He then again encouraged the Council Members to read the stature on changing Board of Education election dates.”

Councilman Fernando Gonzalez showed his displeasure in regards to moving the Board of Election date, “For 30 to 40 years the Board of Education elections were held in May. Governor Christie said that the municipalities could change it to November to save money. (November is when the general elections are held.) We spent $80,000 on a special election (Fernando Gonzalez vs. Sergio Diaz for a 3rd spot on the City Council held May 12, 2015) just because the City didn’t like the 2014 election results. There is a desire to control everything in the City. Instead  of the City, the Administration, the Council and the Board of Education sitting down and talking, there will be money spent on making lawyers rich (arguing this change of date). It is sad for the future of Perth Amboy.”

Councilman Fernando Irizarry responded to Councilman Fernando Gonzalez’ outburst, “That election (5/12/15 Special Election) was ordered by the Court.”

Councilman Bill Petrick added, “There was fraud found. I’m surprised at Fernando Gonzalez. He piloted this (change of the election to November). Look at the records.

Fernando Gonzalez was astounded at Petrick’s remarks.

Councilman Joel Pabon added, “This looked too secretive (the Board of Education changing their election to April 2016). I haven’t been to many Board of Education Meetings lately, but people have said that something is not right. The City and the Board of Education need to get together.”

Councilman Fernando Gonzalez stated, “I was against the Board of Elections moving the election to November. We were not giving the educational system the value it deserves. There were 57 names on the ballot which was very confusing for the people.”

Council President Lisa Nanton said, “I’m not really against moving the Board of Education elections back to April. I just question why they’re doing it so late. The Board of Education Members had 4 years to change the date back to April. The special meeting they had to decide this date change was given on short notice.”

The Resolution R-83 passed. Councilman Fernando Gonzalez abstained because of conflict of interest.

(See Related Article, Page 10)

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