Two Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education members agreed to accept reprimands for having their wives employed by the board while also participating in discussions about the superintendent of schools.
The New Jersey Department of Education, School Ethics Commission (SEC) and Board Members Ronald Lawson and William Bruno settled cases where they were found to be in violation of a New Jersey statute prohibiting school officials to have their immediate family members engage in any business that is in conflict with the board members’ public interest.
Both Lawson and Bruno agreed to accept the penalty of reprimands from Acting Commissioner of Education Christopher D. Cerf, as recommended by the SEC.
Lawson’s wife was employed by the Board as a Secretary in the Buildings and Grounds Department and Bruno’s wife was employed by the Board as the Supervisor of Extracurricular Activites at while they were both members of the Board of Education from August 2009 through October 2009, according to their affidavits.
During the time period both Lawson and Bruno had their wives employed in the district, the issue of then-Superintendent James Wasser’s unaccredited Breyer State University dominated each Board meeting.
“It is impossible to overstate the tension and, often, outright hostility associated with each and every board meeting as long as Superintendent Wasser remained employed,” both Lawson and Bruno said in their affidavits.
According to Lawson and Bruno’s affidavits, the Board counsel recommended that they not participate in the and they were coming in and out of executive sessions each month.
Both were present at the August 2009 and the September 2009 executive session where discussions about accepting Wasser’s resignation and creating a new position for him as “Administrator of Special Projects” took place.
While this position was never created, both Board Members spouses would not have been supervised under Wasser if it had. Both Board Members also did not participate in any discussion concerning the terms of the Wasser’s position as Superintendent, according to their affidavits.
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