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Open Government Advocacy Project:
Why was an ethics complaint against Hillside Board of Ed President and member withdrawn?
 

Issue Detail:

 
In her handwritten, January 16, 2013 letter, Hillside Township (Union County) Board of Education member Rayba Watson stated that she \"would like to withdraw\" her ethics complaint against Board President George Cook and former Board member Robert Trotte. http://district.hillsidek12.org/site_res_view_template.aspx?id=e62a9a23-fc6d-4d83-8080-82dd2bfc8eb7 Watson filed her complaint on December 6, 2011 with the School Ethics Commission alleging that Cook and Trotte violated the New Jersey School Ethics Act by voting in favor of a $60,000 health insurance brokerage contract award to Fairview Insurance Agency Associates, Inc. Watson alleged that Fairview\'s representative, Tony Monteiro, served as campaign manager for Cook\'s run for Hillside Township Council and may have \"financially contributed to\" Cook\'s Council campaign as well as Trotte\'s run for school board in April 2011. She alleged that the pair voted to award the contract to Fairview at the Board\'s October 20, 2011 meeting despite having been previously told by Board attorney Perry Lattiboudere that they could recuse themselves from the meetings at which Fairview was interviewed by the Board. http://www.asgllaw.com/wordpress/attorneys/lattiboudere/ The October 20, 2011 meeting minutes, attached to Watson\'s complaint, show that the motion to award Fairview the $60,000 contract was passed by a 5 to 3 vote with both Cook and Trotte voting in the affirmative. Watson\'s complaint alleges that Fairview\'s contract was $12,000 more than those of two other brokers who were previously recommended by the Board\'s Finance Committee. Watson\'s complaint was forwarded to the Office of Administrative Law and an April 24, 2012 Prehearing Order had scheduled the matter for a plenary hearing for September 28, 2012, approximately three months before Watson withdrew her complaint. I am considering re-filing this ethics complaint myself, but would first like to learn whether the allegations in Watson\'s complaint are accurate and provable and the reason why she withdrew it. Readers should feel free to send me material anonymously to John Paff, P.O. Box 5424, Somerset, NJ 08875.

 

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New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project: Why was an ethics complaint against Hillside Board of Ed President and member withdrawn?. February 09, 2014.
URL: http://ogtf.lpcnj.org/2014/2014040uO/
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