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Special Meeting Tonight To Decide School District Lawsuit for Election

Issues with campaigning to school employees

Toms River Regional Schools has called a special meeting 6 p.m. tonight, Oct. 12, at High School North to decide whether to sue a candidate group.

The "Clean Slate Team" had distributed campaign materials via email to school district employee's work emails, according to the district, and the board will vote on whether to sue the individuals who make up the political team.

"Potential litigation to enjoin the 'Clean Slate Team' from using the Toms River Regional School District email system for political purposes," is the only item on tonight's meeting agenda.

The "Clean Slate Team" was first coined last year to describe the slate of candidates running for three seats at the time — Ben Giovine, Loreen Torrone and Alex Pavliv, who won the 2011 election — and is again being used this year for candidates Joseph Torrone, Ginny Rhine and Gigi Esparza. 

At issue is the alleged election ethics violation of soliciting school employees to politically support candidates, via an email sent this week.

The three current members, Giovine, Loreen Torrone and Pavliv, will have to abstain from tonight's vote, which could decide whether the district would sue the "Clean Slate" individuals.

Though that is the purpose for calling a special meeting, one board member said the district needs investigate another incident as well. Pavliv said there was a violation where a political solicitation was distributed via flyer in support of three incumbent candidates – School board members Jack Reuther, Gus Kakavas and Jamie Jubert.

Pavliv said Superintendent Frank Roselli needs to investigate a September incident where at multiple schools a candidate political event flyer was posted on bulletin boards and allegedly passed among employees.

In a letter released by the "Clean Slate Team" Thursday night, Pavliv outlines how he sees the September incident is also a violation of state election ethics laws (Editor's Note: The Pavliv documents are attached as a .pdf to this article).

The November election has the three incumbents seeking re-election against four challengers — the three "Clean Slate" candidates plus candidate Charlotte Ford Spillane, who is running independently for the Toms River board seat.

The accusations of campaigning to school district employees has heightened an already contentious election that for the second year draws the impact of disgraced former Superintendent Michael Ritacco as an election issue.

The "Clean Slate" term calls for changes in the wake of the Ritacco scandal, hoping to increase transparency for contracts and personnel hirings. Contracts and hirings were two criticisms leveled against the school district by the candidates after Ritacco was accused and eventually sentenced for accepting bribes and kickbacks for hirings and insurance contracts.

As of last night, tonight's school board meeting would decide only whether the district would sue the individuals named as the "Clean Slate Team," and so far does not address Pavliv's request. The agenda is attached to this article.

The meeting is open to the public and begins 6 p.m. at High School North.

The special meeting was called approximately 48 hours of its scheduling, after the emails from "Clean Slate" were distributed this week. The agenda does not say how much of the district's employee email system was used. The incident is in regard to an email calling to support the three challengers and outlining their political platform.

Toms River Regional School Board Meetings are regularly held 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month, and after Friday's meeting the next one is Oct. 16 at High School North.

JD October 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM
I've been critical of Giovine... but last night... he did a very good job in his opening statement...
Pavlivdogs October 13, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Bens statement was scripted as are all of his, Torrones,& Pavilivs comments @ every mtg. They can't form an independent thought if their lives depend ended on it
Mike L October 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Project blue beam, you should read the story again. This is what all the taxpayers are up against....MISS INTERPERTATION? The clean slate team is the GOOD GUYS less Torrone ...who's wife is on the Board) it's the Rittaco 6 who is on the Board and three are up for re.election and causing all this confusion to you and others. When the ballots come out check the against the present listing of those on the board and vote the existing out and put in anybody who is not presently on the board.....
teatleytea October 13, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Pavlivdogs are you sure that you aren't Linda Garvey or Betty Vasil or Kathy Eagan, or our 90k+ PR person Tammi Millar? What are you so afraid of? Are you afraid that the taxpayers are tired of picking up the tab for all of the mismanagement that has been going on for more years than we can count? What's up will all the venom that is being spread for a non paying job? What makes someone want to sit on the BOE for 20+ years for no pay oh, wait I know what it is its jobs for their family and friends. Yeah, Yeah that's the ticket!! Just stop with all of the name calling and if you have something to say come out with FACTS at a meeting and not on a blog!!! And, before you ask or insinuate I am not RELATED TO ANYONE RUNNING FOR THE BOE or RELATED TO ANYONE WHO IS ON THE BOARD NOW!!! I am just one of those SUCKERS who is left holding the bag paying for all of these rolex watches and trips and money ect, that was stolen while the BOE knew nothing. So, yes, you can say that we need change!!!
joe jones October 21, 2012 at 06:28 PM
SUcker????? Move to another town ans see what your taxes are

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