Home Medford News Medford BOE holds 2016 reorganization, vice presidency contested

Medford BOE holds 2016 reorganization, vice presidency contested

Trudy Cole was unanimously voted in as Board president, while Michael Etter was selected as vice president by a 5–3 vote.

Left to right, Jeffrey Wagner, Dave Bermingham, Katherine Busca and Michael Etter take an Oath of Office at the direction of Board Administrator/Board Secretary Marie Goodwin at the Medford Township Board of Education reorganization meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

The annual Medford Township Public Schools reorganization meeting brought with it a change in the leadership of the body of elected officials. At the meeting, Trudy Cole was unanimously voted in as the new board president, while Michael Etter was selected as vice president by a 5–3 vote.

Although Cole, who is replacing Katherine Santamore as president, was the overall choice for that role, the vice presidency was debated as both Etter and fellow board member Heather Keleher were nominated.

While members agreed both were great candidates and either would be able to successfully lead the board, member Stephen Cappello led an open discussion on who should be selected. He said when he and Superintendent Joseph Del Rossi had talked about the nature of the presidency of the board a year ago, it was said the board should be a rotating presidency.

However in response, Santamore noted she has been a member of the board for 25 years, yet has only been made board president once. She explained normally the only way the board “rotates” is if a member is elected to go from either vice president to president, or from president to vice president.

“I think it makes us stronger as a whole when more members have the experience of being president or vice presidential roles,” board member David Bermingham saidd. “Dr. Etter has had that experience. I think it’s important that if there’s a new person that wants that same experience, that they can get it.”

Another reason he supported Keleher as vice president was because one of the board’s goals has been community relations, and with any leadership job, people are “bound to ruffle some feathers along the way.” Therefore, he voiced his thoughts that having a fresh face in the leadership position would help the board improve its community relations.

“I think it’s [a position] that you should grow into,” Santamore said in response. “I can see [Keleher] as future president, but I do think it’s not about the person growing, it’s about having a good leadership to start with. It’s good to have people that are experienced.”

She continued by relaying members are there to make the board work, not to give people an opportunity to grow. Santamore urged the members to ultimately do what they believe to be best for the board.

Cole added that while she thought both candidates were very good people, she also believes experience in the vice presidency is important.

After discussion ceased and a motion was made to close the nominations, board secretary Marie Goodwin led a role call where each member voiced his or her selection for vice president. Etter, winning the vote, was then appointed by the board to fulfil the role until the next reorganization meeting.

“I think [Etter] will be a very good vice president,” Cole said. “He has a lot of experience with the board and has served as president previously, and certainly has the knowledge and experience to do an upstanding job.”

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