Lawyer’s recommendation halts Shelton BOE reorganization vote

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Attorney’s advice halts Shelton BOE reorganization vote

  • Exterior view of the Education Committee’s office in Shelton, Conn. 5th November 2020.

    Exterior view of the Education Committee’s office in Shelton, Conn. 5th November 2020.

    Photo: Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

Photo: Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

Exterior view of the Education Committee’s office in Shelton, Conn. 5th November 2020.

Exterior view of the Education Committee’s office in Shelton, Conn. 5th November 2020.

Photo: Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

Attorney’s advice halts voting on Shelton BOE restructuring

SHELTON – The current leadership of the Education Committee will remain in place until the next election – but not because a vote has taken place among the members.

In a memo presented to board members ahead of Wednesday’s virtual meeting, management consultant Fred Stanek recommended that panel leaders should not be selected, although this type of restructuring has been required in the board’s bylaws for years.

There was no vote on the chair, vice-chair and secretary. Board member Amanda Kilmartin, a Democrat, moved to put the vote until board members could seek another legal opinion on the matter.

The board voted 5-4 on the party lines to reject Kilmartin’s motion, end hopes of reorganization and leave Kathy Yolish as chair, vice-chair to James Orazietti and secretary to Amy Romano until after the local elections next November.

When Yolish called the reorganization agenda item, Stanek stated that the city charter and language of the Connecticut General Statute supersede the board of directors’ statutes and that the board has “no authority to elect any officer” at that time.

Stanek said the next such vote should take place after a local election.

But Kilmartin and his colleague Diana Meyer questioned Stanek’s opinion. Since this restructuring has been going on annually for several years without incident, Meyer asked why the vote could not take place again.

Stanek said he had not been approached by any board member and did not decide to express his opinion until after seeing the item on the agenda.

“I don’t understand where this is coming from?” Asked Meyer.

Stanek replied that he had not been an attorney to the board for the past few years, but after seeing this item on the agenda, he realized that city and state law dictate that the board act without the electoral authority.

Kilmartin had Stanek confirm that there is no time frame in city or state law that would prohibit the board from holding the vote that evening.

Yolish said while the board has decided not to respond to reorganization this year, she will seek CABE for comment.

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