WEST NEW YORK -- Mayor Dr. Felix Roque swore in two new Board of Education members, Adrienne Kole-Sires and Vilma Reyes, Tuesday evening at West New York Middle School. The ceremony took place in front of a large and rather vocal and energetic audience due in part to the recent controversies surrounding the board.
Kole-Sires and Reyes replaced Janet Passante and Alexander Locatelli, both of whom had been appointed by former mayor Silverio “Sal” Vega just after Vega was defeated by Roque in his re-election bid.
Dr. Roque filed a complaint with the West New York State Commissioner of Education in July arguing that when Vega appointed Passante and Locatelli, the act violated a NJ statute that prohibits any board appointment between the first and third Tuesday in May of an election year.
This was not the only violation in question. In September, the Town of West New York filed a civil action complaint against Passante alleging that, upon her retirement, she falsely claimed $306,324 of back pay for accrued vacation, sick, and compensatory time.
In mid-Sept., the Commissioner of Education ordered the two members to step down and finally allowed Roque to bring his new members in.
“They were doing the wrong thing by being here,” Roque said, of the two outgoing members. "I promised this school that I’m not letting politics get involved in our children’s education."
For more on this story, see this weekend's West New York Reporter.