Former Super's Complaint Against Former BOE President Allowed to Move On
Daniel Woska had sought to dismiss a complaint filed against him by Melindo A. Persi
Most of the components of a complaint filed by former Brick schools Superintendent Melindo A. Persi against former Board of Education President Daniel Woska will not be dismissed, as Woska had sought.
The state School Ethics Commission decided on June 29 that Persi can pursue a complaint that Woska violated several sections of the state's School Ethics Act. The commission blocked further litigation regarding one portion of Persi's complaint, however. Woska had asked the commission to dismiss all of Persi's complaints.
The crux of Persi's complaints center around his dismissal as superintendent in April 2008, when a board made up of several new members voted to oust Persi at its reorganization meeting. Persi alleges that Woska, who already sat on the board, instructed the assistant board secretary to issue him a Rice notice, a notification given to a public employee whose employment status will be discussed at a meeting, when he was not authorized to do so. Persi's attorney, Robert Shea, argued in legal documents that Woska, who was not yet the board's president, did not inform currently-seated board members about the notice, a violation of ethics laws.
Persi also alleges in his complaint that Woska surreptitiously discussed his removal as superintendent with then-Assistant Superintendent Mary Ann Ceres, and intentionally planned to have Ceres take the superintendent position, also in violation of ethics laws. At the reorganization meeting, the new board voted to replace Persi with Ceres.
Persi's complaint also accused Woska of surrendering his independent judgment to use the school system for personal gain or the gain of friends – in this case, Ceres.
Persi will be allowed to continue litigation on all of his allegations except for the one which accuses Woska of surrendering his judgment to benefit himself of his friends in his favoring the hiring of Ceres. The commission ruled there was not enough factual foundation to continue on with the complaint.
The commission also decided to dismiss a request from Woska that Persi be fined for frivolously accusing him of violating ethics laws. Persi would have faced a $500 fine if he was found to have filed a frivolous complaint.
If the commission eventually finds that Woska violated ethics laws, they may recommend to the state Commissioner of Education that Woska be reprimanded or censured. The commission also has the power to suspend or remove a board member, however Woska no longer serves on the board.