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Question of conflict of interest arises at Pleasant Vy. School District board meeting

Published February 15. 2012 05:01PM

When the Pleasant Valley School District board of directors were asked to vote on policy revisions, one section was voted on separately from the other 16 policy revisions. That one was policy 916 School Volunteers.

It received a vote of five "yes" and three "no" to have it tabled. Board director Harvey Frable was absent. Directors Russ Gould, Dominick Sacci and Steve Borger were the three "no" votes.

All the other policies that were voted on were approved 7-1 with James Spinola voting "no."

Later on, in a vote to approve the Professional, Support, and Pupil Personnel Services/Principal of Health and Physical Education, all was approved in a 8-0 vote except for item, that of the 2011-2012 Varsity/JV softball volunteer coaching position of Steve Borger. That vote to approve received a vote of three "yes" (Gould, Sacci, Spinola), four "no" (Susan Kresge, Tom Murphy, H. Charles Hoffman and MiChelle Palmer) and one "abstain" (Steve Borger).

Borger, who is also one of the two newly elected board directors, asked permission to address the board.

"I find it hypocritical that there are members of this board who have family employed here in the district but you find it objectionable that I be a volunteer coach. I think this was vindictive and I take it very personally. I have put a lot of time and energy into this team. I've been a volunteer coach for seven years. I take offense that you think I'll have an influence on the coach," he said.

Board director Susan Kresge said, "I firmly believe that we as school board members should not be volunteers in the district. It is a conflict of interest."

Board director James Spinola said that he thinks it's great when someone from the community wants to be involved with the school as a volunteer. He noted Borger's volunteer coaching for seven years and said he had no objection to him being a volunteer coach.

Board director Russ Gould said he had been a coach when elected to the board. Kresge said, "But you also resigned from that position" to which Gould replied that he then became a volunteer coach. Kresge said that he also stepped down from that position. Gould replied that he didn't have a problem with Borger serving on the board and being a volunteer coach.

Board president Tom Murphy ended the discussion with, "We believe it is a conflict of interest."

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