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UPDATE: School Board Ousts Longtime Attorney, Makes New Appointment

Board held a special meeting Tuesday night after failing to make appointment last week

The law firm that represented the Toms River Board of Education for over 20 years was ousted Tuesday night when members voted on a new appointment.

After an executive session that lasted about three and a half hours — about an hour longer than anticipated by the board — the firm of Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle and Sacks was approved by the board in a 6-2 vote. The board's long-serving representation by Gilmore and Monahan was among those considered, but "Clean Slate" members ultimately made their pick.

Members Tom Baxter and Edward Gearity cast their votes against the year-long appointment. Michael Jedziniak was absent from the meeting and did not vote. Before voting, Gearity said that the firm has a "very prestigious" reputation but does not have recent school board experience. 

"Unfortunately they have no experience in the last eight or 10 years as school board attorneys or in special education law," he said. 

The board failed to make an appointment during their reorganization meeting last week after some members and residents complained that time set aside for an executive session to interview and consider attorney candidates was removed from the meeting agenda. The attorney appointment, as well as the choices for labor counsel and engineering firm, were tabled until the Tuesday special meeting. 

Board president Ben Giovine apologized for keeping the public at the High School North auditorium waiting beyond the expected 8 p.m. public session start time.

"Some of the interviews and discussions went on a little longer than we expected," he said. Gearity indicated that two firms were involved in the interview process. 

Giovine also said that he "lost sleep" over the Jan. 3 reorganization meeting during which no attorney was present, but he did not believe the board made any legal missteps. Thomas Monahan did not sit with the board Tuesday, but Giovine said that the attorney advised members that it is standard procedure for a board not to have representation before appointing a new attorney at reorganization.  

Linda Garvey, a board member who decided not to seek reelection and left in 2011, spoke during public comment and was critical of what she said was an injection of politics into the school board with the appointment. 

"I totally agree with the decision to appoint someone other as Monahan as board attorney," she said. But, "school boards are supposed to be nonpartisan."

According to New Jersey campaign contributions information, members of the firm have made financial contributions to Democratic candidates. 

"I have a problem with that for many reasons, not the least of which is that [attorney Stephan Leone is] involved in politics on, shall we say, the other aisle," Garvey said. 

Leone's association with Giovine were questioned by Garvey, but Giovine said that he is not close with the attorney. 

"My relationship with Mr. Leone has been nothing more than a neighbor," he said.

After winning a majority on the board in November, the "Clean Slate" members had enough votes to oust Monahan, something they tried to accomplish — but fell short of by two votes — when his contract was last up for renewal in 2011. Monahan was among the "Ritacco-era professionals" with which the majority of board members wanted to end ties.

"The last two years they came and voted for new members to be on the board, and part of that is because they didn't trust the professionals," said resident Brian McCaskill.

According to the Carluccio, Leone, Dimon, Doyle and Sacks website, the firm has attorneys "that have served and currently serve on the boards of banks, hospitals, colleges, utility companies and corporations." The firm states that it has received distinguished law firm status from the Martindale Hubbell legal information service. 

The board also voted to appoint Cleary, Giacobbe, Alfieri and Jacobs as its labor counsel and Maser Consulting as the district's engineering firm on an as-needed basis. In the past, the board had designated numerous engineering firms for use.

Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Now that is funny Linda... You are using my screen name... Kathy. lol Same IP address as other screen names. You are a sick person... Thank god you are off the board.
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:22 AM
Well, I knew it wasn't going to be Mr. Garvey. Kelaher didn't want to be partners with Garvey due to wifey involvement with Ritacco.
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Sounds like I'm getting to you Linda. Give it up. Let it rest. Your friends lost the election. Get over it. Just the facts on your campaign. $30,000 paid to Moriarity??
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:24 AM
I told youse Leone was going to the next board attorney.....
Callingyouout January 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Actually I am NOT Linda- since you are the computer expert, why don't you compare the IP addresses? You get a life - you started on here supporting the Clean Slate team, which is why I simply pointed out to you they are up to the same shenanigans.
Clark Kent January 11, 2013 at 12:28 AM
We think this Kathy is either bi-polar or has a multiple personality disorder, wow.
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Barbara, Expressing your opinion is not a crime... and it's not libel, etc. For instance, it is my opinion that Linda Garvey is a miserable person who needs to get a life. It appears she is a sick person so she can't help it. That statement is not defamatory, nor is it libel, nor is it libel perse. I go on. Keep expressing your opinion. Go to BOE meetings. Drown out the Ritacco crew. Toms River needs to rise above the trash of the Ritacco crew. It is there tactics to intimidate, scare you, threaten you, etc... stay jersey strong.
Callingyouout January 11, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Thank you!!! But watch what you say since she is tracking your IP address. :)
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Sounds like I'm getting to you myself. Give it up. Let it rest. My friends lost the election. Get over it. Just the facts on your campaign. $30,000 paid to ??
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Linda, Please tell us where $28,000 came from in 1 day. A bank check deposited, meaning it came from another bank account so the deposits of checks and cash couldn't be traced. $30,000 to Moriarity. Did you vote for Moriarity to get a job at TRRS? Come forward with the info. Kettle. Black.
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Hey Linda Garvey... Another first post!! What is that now, 25 screen names.
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Yes Linda, Your buddies lost the election. How bout answering some questions. The original Kathy. Never to be duplicated.
Linda Garvey January 11, 2013 at 12:36 AM
I have no idea what you are talking about, Kathy. I wouldn't have any idea how to use your screen name, and I don't even know what an IP address is. Are you Kathy Lazaro? I had no idea. Although, she is the only person I know who says "youse" instead of "you" (see above post). I truly believed that KATHY was a guy. I don't know any ladies who would put "stfu" in a public post like KATHY did earlier. SURE I'LL TELL YOU ABOUT MY CAMPAIGN FINANCES WHEN YOU TELL ME WHO YOU ARE!!!
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:40 AM
It came from outer space the third continuim off Aurora Borialus near Neptune that hovers the planet Uranus!
Callingyouout January 11, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Do you need another minute to track my IP Address. I wish I was Garvey I don't have anyone this obsessed with me. You sounded so intelligent in your previous comments and I had hope for you, but now sound like a scorned, obsessed woman (or man, who knows.) The issue I was trying to point out to you had NOTHING to do with Garvey, but was an issue about the current attorney and his connections with the campaign manager. Do you remember that this was the original purpose of the article?
Linda Garvey January 11, 2013 at 12:46 AM
I think we can all see that KATHY (the original one or otherwise) is crazy! On my way to the BOE committee meetings. They are open to the public. Talk to ya later, KATHY!
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Linda, In my opinion, you are a sick and deranged person. I believe you need the help of a psychologist. btw, I see how you are avoiding the question, but the answer is obvious. The original Kathy.
chtulu2000 January 11, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Wow! You people are freakin' nuts!
Callingyouout January 11, 2013 at 01:00 AM
Yes, that was a fun ride on the crazy train. Commenting on articles is comical, I can see why it's done so often now.
JD January 11, 2013 at 02:32 AM
Wow. Crazy people. Sounds like Linda Garvey is going to run for Baxters seat in November.
Exit82 January 11, 2013 at 03:59 AM
Not for nothing: The letter says Garvey made “ridiculous” comments that were “disparaging” to reputations of some administrators and board members. “While you cannot control a Barnegat staff member, you can certainly do something about a Toms River Board of Education member,” the letter advises. “Her public display was horrifying. … She exhibited such a lack of control that myself and many other parents are worried that she will not be able to control herself with the children either.” The writer says she omitted her name out of concern for her daughter entering fifth grade.
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM
What letter? It is my opinion, Linda Garvey is a bitter, angry, mentally ill person and needs to seek the attention of psychologists instead of seeking attention at BOE or committee meetings. I am trying to confirm why Kelaher spun off from her husbands law firm. I suspect it may be due to her instability as well as her relationship with Ritacco and being on the BOE and Kelaher wanted to distance himself from it.
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Ok... I googled. I never knew about Barnegat. Here is some reading about what Exit 82 is referring to. http://www.nje3.org/?p=616 http://barnegatschools.com/1430101124145325593/lib/1430101124145325593/4-23-07_Regular.pdf What is especially newsworthy is what she said at the Barnegat BOE meeting. It starts on page 5. Looks like her union didn't back her!
Callingyouout January 11, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Now I can see why the voices of Galante or Carol Benson with legitimate concerns have been lost over the years - when you associate with someone like Lazaro who just likes to see her name in the paper (again – Google Search. She has been quoted in countless number of APP articles, Patch.com articles) you lose your credibility. Run for the BOE Kathy if you want to make a difference instead of posting 30+ comments a day on Toms River Patch. Although, I may propose BOE membership require a mental health screening so you and 90% of the other people posting on this page may be out. Well I must get to work now – I am assuming you don’t work with all the time you spend calling the Patch & APP. I had hoped TR could bounce back but my faith is fading. Christie should abolish BOE's or significantly change the requirements.
Kathy January 11, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Which elementary school are you substituting at today Linda?
Callingyouout January 11, 2013 at 02:04 PM
I thought you were tracking my IP address, so you should be therefore able to see that I am not Linda? I work a full time job actually, and look forward to my hard earned tax dollars supporting your unemployment.
barbara January 12, 2013 at 01:31 AM
lol, should not comment, cause i was the first one she was gonna sue. but hopefully she not subbing at my granddaughters school.........
barbara January 12, 2013 at 01:50 AM
10 -20 points for kathy!!! lol you go girl........
Project Bluebeam January 12, 2013 at 04:02 AM
Kathy is either bluffing on the IP addresses or she's a Soros-paid, Huffington Post plant. Either way, she lacks credibility.
Donald Fagen January 13, 2013 at 09:39 AM
Breach of Fid. Duty? Breach of Municpal Ethics Code(if that exists). Fid. Duty Breach is an ABA violation in this situation; not a public official's violation. Get a stricter Ethical Code for public officials, and solve your problems. Ask the Finance Board.

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