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Ethics Complaint Filed Against Two School Board Members

The complaint was filed in February.

An ethics complaint was filed against Laura Lab, president of the West Orange Board of Education, and Megan Brill, another member of the board, according to documents obtained by West Orange Patch.

Nicholas Galante, a current school district employee and president of the local teacher's union, filed the complaint in February with the state School Ethics Commission, confirmed Galante's attorney Gail Oxfeld Kanef in Newark.

The document charges that Lab allegedly demanded Galante be transferred from his current work assignment and asked for Galante's work email to be monitored - among other complaints.

The document also charged that Brill wanted a "supporter" to fill a teacher position that had been left vacant due to a maternity leave, as well as other alleged ethic lapses.

On Monday, school board members declined to comment.

Galante did not return a phonecall Tuesday.

Oxfeld Kanef said they have not heard from the commission except questions to clarify on which sections of law were violated.

"We take it seriously," she said about the complaint. "We believe we have a meritorous claim."

wohopeful April 18, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Will be interesting to see what the outcome of this latest debacle will be and how much it is going to cost the taxpayers of West Orange. Nick Galante makes over 100k per year to teach 3 elementary classes and he has issues with his employer wanting to monitor his work email.
Adam Kraemer April 18, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Even though Laura Lab and Megan Brill beat me for Board of Educaiton I know both of them to be very ethical and honeralbe people who pay attention to thre rules. (I don't always agree with them on policy) So I would doubt the claim has merit.
Althia Tweiten April 19, 2012 at 02:54 AM
If the two are convicted, the town should not pay their legal fees.
john anthony prignano April 19, 2012 at 05:06 PM
At least 120k { salary and longevity } If he still coaches golf, several thousand more . My son had his brother for an alleged teacher . Terrible . Three classes a day - when he's not absent or on Union business. What's his hourly rate ? $ 300 ? $400 ? And how's the quality of his work ? This proves once again that if we're ever to turn the economy around , one of our highest priorities must be to end our dependency on foreign oil .Why can't people see the forest for the trees ?
Lisa April 19, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Well wohopeful, can't say i disagree with that statement. You are so right!
john anthony prignano April 19, 2012 at 09:22 PM
As of the 2010 - 2011 school year , an Assistant Superintendent in West Orange was making a base pay of $197,132. This person has 10 years experience in the District, and 10 years total experience . This person was hired with no experience . This person has a Doctorate But what does that mean ?. Is she highly qualified ? No. " Doesn't have to be highly qualified " But didn't the School Board think she SHOULD be ? Did she take the Praxis/ Nte and/or the House Praxis and fail them, or did she not bother to take them ? Is she Nationally Certified ? No. A department head with a Masters degree has one year experience in the District, and one year total experience.The base pay { starting salary } for this person is $113,404 . Highly qualified ? " Doesn't have to be highly qualified " Again, didn't the School Board think a department head should be ? Did she fail the tests or not take them ? Nationally Certified ? No. No experience , not highly qualified , not nationally certified - an Assistant Superintendent at 197k, and a Department Head at a starting salary of 113k. AGAIN, what's the Rule people ? Give your friends money !. I think it's very obvious that if we're ever going to revive New Jersey's economy, we must do something about reckless , irresposible and predatory lending practices. Why can't we see the forest for the trees ?
Adam Miller April 19, 2012 at 11:41 PM
@ john anthony prignano - What does that have to do with this story?
john anthony prignano April 20, 2012 at 12:25 AM
It's at least 120k just in salary and longevity pay . if he still coaches golf, that's several thousand more .Three classes a day .....when he's not absent or on Union business. Is he assigned an Aide ? is he assigned a student teacher? What's his hourly rate ? $300? $400? How well does he perform? Does it matter ? This proves again, that if we're ever going to have a sustainable economic recovery, one of our chief priorities must be ending our dependency on foreign oil . Why can't we see the forest for the trees ?
john anthony prignano April 20, 2012 at 01:07 AM
When P.A.S.S.E. was in it's formative stages, I received a letter from the organizers. I called Laura Lab . I identified myself. I told her I have an autistic son , and I would like to talk to her about my son and about special education in general .I asked her if I could visit her home to talk . " No" she said I said "Could you come to my home so we could talk ? " She replied " No. How about if we talk on the phone , John ?" I said "O.k. , I".....suddenly she interrupted me and said " I have to do something John, but I'll call you right back " She never did. I'm certain she never intended to. She does not care about every child. Don't let her tell you she does .
john anthony prignano April 20, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Wohopeful Thanks for your comment about trips down Memory Lane. I believe in the saying "The past is prologue . " Galante appears to be accusing Megan Brill of cronyism . ,Years ago, an in -law of Galantes worked for the West Orange School System . As I said, my son had his brother for a teacher . Pat Galante took off a lot of days . That's the good news. The bad news is, he was often in the classroom . Remember in Goodfellas how Robert DeNiro broke down when he was told Tommy { Joe Pesci } had been "whacked " ? A guy wrote in and said " I find it funny to see a murderer crying when another murderer gets murdered " You're right wohopeful . The taxpayers will probably pay plenty for this "Looking Glass War " ; Someone's crony accusing someone else's crony of cronyism. Laura Lab should take Tolerance and Anti -Bullying courses . Stop picking on poor Nick ! Leave him alone ! As Al Pacino says in Glengarry Glen Ross; "We do not live in a world of men "
Gary Englert April 20, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Had you considered the very distinct possibility that word of your not so charming personality and general state of uncontrolled rage (both of which are common public knowledge) might have have reached Mrs. Lab prior to your call?
Gary Englert April 20, 2012 at 10:02 PM
As no criminal charges have been filed, there's little risk of anyone being "convicted" of anything. So far as any legal representation is concerned, a Board member is likely entitled to it if its necessitated based on actions pertaining to his/her office.
HankT April 22, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Does anyone know for sure he teaches 3 classes? Wasn't there talk a while back that he didn't teach any classes at all in spite of his teacher title?
john anthony prignano April 22, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Hank T For the 2010 - 2011 school year, the web site states ; Nicholas M. Galante , Masters Degree , 41 years of service , base pay $112,321, Basic skills/ Remedial English, Classes taught - 3 . Factor in $8,000 in longevity pay and a salary bump for the current school year. He coached { coaches ? } boys golf , so add several thousand more .His hourly rate must be at least 350 to 400 dollars an hour or more . Does he actually teach 3 classes a day ? NOT LIKELY
Cynthia Cumming April 22, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Why do teacher salaries bother you so much? And how can you possibly know what they do or don't do; know if they possess degrees, etc.?
john anthony prignano April 22, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Nicholas Galante's brother retired after 40 years with a final average salary of $121,685. He got a $10,000 pension increase by moving in to Adminstration his last few years . !n 2010 - 2011, Nick Galante's base pay was 112k + I would assume he got a salary bump for 2011 - 2012 . So for his current salary, let's use the amount of 114k . I believe that part of that is his Union Officer's pay. His pension would be approximately $73,000 . or $41,000 less than his current salary . He would also lose $8,000 in longevity pay . Even without any other stipends , he would lose $49,000 a year by retiring . So the School Board allows him to make $49,000 a year , for a MAXIMUM of 400 hours of work .There must be sick days, personal days, Union business, early dismissals, maybe an Aide, a student teacher etc .So the School Board said to Nick, " Nick, here's a $49.000 gift from the taxpayers of West Orange . Enjoy." An Administrator in West Orange has a total of 13 years experience . He makes approximately $130,000 in base salary . Is he Nationally Certified ? No . Is he highly qualified ? No, "Doesn't have to be highly qualified" Traditional route certification ? No, "Provisional". AGAIN,what's The Rule? "Give your friends money !" .As Lewis Carroll so eloquently stated 'Twas briillig, and the slithy toves/ Did gyre and gimbel in the wabe; / All mimsy were the borogoves, /And the mome raths outgrabe
john anthony prignano April 22, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Swell's Soliloquy : I can't approve this horrid war / Those dreadful banners hurt my eyes / And guns and drums are such a bore / Why can't the parties compromise ? / Of course the toilet has it's charms / But why must all the vulgar crowd / Insist on wearing uniforms / In colors so extremely loud ? / And the ladies , precious dears ! / I mark the change on every brow / By jove, I really have my fears / They rather like this horrid war / To hear the gentle creatures talk / Like patrons of the bloody wing / Of war and all it's dirty work / It doesn't seem a proper thing / I visited Miss Smith last night / To see her niece , Miss Mary Kurtz / And saw her making ,crushing sight ! / The reddest kind of flannel shirts / Of course I rose and sought the door / With fire flashing from my eyes / I can't approve this horrid war / Why don't the parties compromise ?
Adam Kraemer April 23, 2012 at 10:40 AM
@ Cynthia - My issue with teacher salaries is not the amount is that the relationship to performance is limited or non existent. Why should an extremely hard working well performing teacher with five years in the teaching profession get significantly less pay than the twenty-five year veteran teacher down the hall who is burned out and under performing? A well performing hard working teacher earns good compensation and as taxpayer I certainly have no issue with that in fact that is the way it should be. I have an issue when a given teacher has basically given up or is ineffectual and gets significant compensation. Yes this does occur some times even in West Orange. Though most teacher in West Orange a good and work hard. As for benefits for public employee they have to be controlled. Retirement ages have to go up and limits on pension need to be in place or we will go bankrupt. It is not that I dislike our public employees it is that we have to make our government solvent for the long run or we will all be in trouble.
Cynthia Cumming April 23, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I was asking Mr. Prignano, and his response is well, "Prignanoesque" to coin a new term. That being said, I have no issue with what you're saying, but it wasn't what I was asking.
john anthony prignano April 23, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll ; 'Twas brillig and the slithey toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe / All mimsy were the borogoves / And the mome raths outgrabe / Beware the jabberwock my son / The jaws that bite, the claws that catch / Beware the Jubjub bird and shun the frumious bandersnatch / He took the vorpal sword in hand / Long time the manxome foe he sought / Then rested he by a Tumtum tree and stood a while in thought / And as he stood in uffish thought / The Jabberwock with eyes of flame / Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, and burbled as it came /One two one two and through and through / The vorpal blade went snickersnack /He left it dead and with it's head ,he went galumphing back / And hast thou slain the Jabberwock ? / Come to my arms my beamish boy / Oh frabjous day ! caloo calay ! he chortled in his joy / 'twas brillig and the slithey toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe / All mimsy were the borogroves / An the mome raths outgrabe Cynthia Thank you for coining the term " Prignanoesque " My response to your questions is , those things are for me to know and you to find out . Cynthia , have a great day .
john anthony prignano April 23, 2012 at 08:38 PM
At the end , it should be 'Twas brillig ,and And the mome raths
Brett Kaiser July 24, 2012 at 02:29 AM
So...what happened to the investigation?

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