THE MAYOR ON THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
July 14, 2015
One of my most memorable cases as a litigator working for the Borough of Naugatuck began in 1997 when the Naugatuck voters passed four separate charter amendments one of which made the Mayor a voting member of the Board of Education. This proposed charter amendment was not well received by the Naugatuck Board of Education. The Naugatuck Board of Education challenged the charter amendment in the Superior Court. The Board of Education maintained that no other town in Connecticut allowed its chief executive officer to have a vote on the Board of Education and that it was unlawful for a municipality to directly interfere with the actions of a Board of Education by having a mayor on the Board with access to executive sessions and other sensitive meetings. The Naugatuck Board of Education was joined in the litigation by the Statewide Boards of Education and a major challenge was mounted against all four of the proposed charter amendments. The case went to trial and was appealed to the Connecticut Appellate Court and ultimately was heard by the Connecticut Supreme Court. The Appellate Court ruled that the voters of the Borough of Naugatuck did have the municipal power to place a mayor on the Board of Education. Part of my argument to the Court was that it was an improper assumption by the Board of Education that a mayor would be automatically adverse to the interests of the Board of Education. A mayor on the Board of Education should be working together with the Board of Education to enhance the overall betterment of the Borough of Naugatuck school system. This argument was accepted by the Court and remains the law in Connecticut. As mayor as well as a member of the Board of Education, I will work with the Board of Education to provide a quality education to all Borough students while remaining mindful of the financial constraints placed upon the Borough. I will encourage the use of shared services between the Borough and the Board of Education in such areas as maintenance, human resources, health care brokers, labor attorneys, technology and overall financial management in order to reduce costs. I will be a broker of solutions between the Borough and the Board of Education in order to achieve savings while enhancing our quality of education. Working together is the best way to make progress.