April 15, 2007

Union County Superintendent of Schools Displays Questionable Behavior

Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage appears to have the inside tract when it comes to obtaining government records and reports even when those documents are not obtainable under the Federal Freedom of Information Act, it has been reported by the Star Ledger.

He is purported to have put on quite a show at the last Elizabeth City Council meeting by displaying the document in question so enlarged that it was displayed on an easel for all in attendance to view. An incomplete audit report of the Elizabeth Board of Education, the document has been reported to be “confidential early work from within the Federal Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General” or OIG.

Bollwage made no secret about the fact that he obtained the report from the Union County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Carmen M. Centuolo, whose office falls under the Union County government’s umbrella. Disclosing the contents of this report, which according to the OIG, may not be complete for another six months can only be viewed as a political maneuver to discredit the incumbent school board members who are on the ballot in the current school board elections.

Though supposedly nonpartisan Elizabeth’s BOE races are certainly anything but. With Mayor Bollwage publicly supporting his own ticket along with State Senator Ray Lesniak who called for investigations of the current BOE in a county government funded newspaper these elections reek of politics at its absolute worst.

Dr. Centuolo certainly didn’t behave in a nonpartisan manner by supplying the mayor with his ammunition in view of the fact that the Dr. has been a contributor to the Union County Democratic Committee and also gave at least $1,000 to the campaign of NJ’s newest senator, Democrat Robert Menendez. http://www.newsmeat.com/fec/bystate_detail.php?st=&zip=07092&last=Centuolo&first=Carmen

It is worth noting that the Doc was appointed Union County Superintendent in October of 2004 by the NJ State Board of Education, is paid a salary of $110,994.03 and is listed as among those taking an early retirement at the ripe old age of 55, effective July 1, 2003 after having worked for the Green Township, NJ BOE. Certainly looks like double dipping or perhaps some form of pension padding from here either way a six figure salary combined with a public pension is not exactly chump change at the taxpayers expense.

Mayor Bollwage’s behavior a scant week before school elections is atrocious and though he vehemently denies it even a novice can clearly see what his intentions were. But even worse is the behavior of the County Superintendent of Schools, what on earth was Dr. Centuolo thinking by handing over a confidential report? Shouldn’t the doctor have told the mayor to butt out of school territory? Or was the Doctor under instructions to leak certain tidbits of potentially damaging information at just the opportune time thus making it impossible for any damage control to be implemented and good names defended.

The situation in Elizabeth can only be termed as one big mess as the mayor and school board go at each other, the activities of the county superintendent definitely should be viewed as suspicious and definitely unethical and Senator Lesniak, well, that is another story all by itself.

From Newsmeat
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Centuolo, Carmen MMountainside, NJ 07092State of New Jersey/County Schools

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