In my last posted blog, the ideal prerequisites for a Board of Education member were defined. In this blog, the candidates for the BOE will be named, with references to their individual qualifications and in the case of the one incumbent, past performance.
It is important to be educated on the candidates and to make your vote count. This blog is only one resource available on the candidates. Hopefully, The Fort Lee Patch and other sources will provide the community with a clear picture of these individuals prior to Election Day. Then it is up to the voters to make the correct decision in November.
As a community member who attends the majority of BOE meetings, I am well versed personally on all these candidates. While I am certain not everyone will agree, I believe the following to be a fair assessment of the 2012 slate.
- Law Degree from Rutgers University
- Partner and Co-founder of Executive Search Firm
- Son and Daughter enrolled at School #1
- Coaches Youth Sports in Fort Lee: Soccer; Basketball; Baseball: and Softball
David has been extremely active at BOE meetings for several years. His emphasis has been on a more competitive bidding process for BOE contracts and a more careful scrutiny of all legal documents, i.e. specifically contracts for services. David is a major proponent of proper fiscal management by the Board in order to best utilize the limited resources available in the School Budget. David has also been a major advocate for a unified curricula in our elementary schools.
David appears to have the best credentials of all the candidates to fulfill the obligations of a BOE member. Having two young children in the school system will give David the extra impetus to work toward improving our schools.
- Graduate of Wellesley College
- Employed by Non-Profit Community Health Center in NYC as Human Resources Professional /Manager
- Certified EMT, 8 year veteran of Fort Lee Ambulance Corp.
- Two daughters currently enrolled in School #3.
- Current Board Member of School #3 PTA.
Esther has been attending BOE meetings for a number of months. She is married to Jeff Silver, ex-Fire Chief and a member of the Fort Lee Fire Department for many years. With two children in the school system, Esther has expressed the desire to become more involved in the BOE to improve the Fort Lee educational programs.
Esther has the professional credentials to potentially be a fine BOE member, and with two young children in the system, she has a vested interest in upgrading the Fort Lee school system.
- Fort Lee High School Graduate. No formal advanced education.
- Son currently at Fort Lee High School and a son at School #4.
- Freshman Academy Parent Committee member for Fort Lee High School.
- Involvement with School #4 PTA for many years
Holly has attended BOE meetings for many years and has been heavily involved in community service in our schools, as demonstrated by her PTA work and her participation in the Freshman Academy program. Over the years, she has shown a sincere interest in our educational system and a deep caring attitude toward the children of Fort Lee.
Holly has great energy and will always give her best effort. She has expressed willingness to obtain additional education on the responsibilities of BOE members in order to improve her knowledge on BOE issues. She currently has two children in the system and has a vested interest in the betterment of the Fort Lee schools.
- Graduate of Rutgers Law School, practicing Attorney
- Experience as a member of the BOE for last 4 years
- Son and Daughter enrolled at School#3
- Member of Fort Lee Korean-American Association, Local Community Service Organization
Unfortunately, with the qualifications that John Bang brings to the table, he has been an unproductive member of the BOE. He has two children in the system and should have a vested interest in improving our schools. However, his attendance record is subpar and his performance borders on abysmal.
At BOE meetings, John Bang has consistently shown poor judgment. He has supported inferior contracts for services in his tenure. He has been absent for key votes in 2012 (appointment of Superintendent of Schools and vote on $ 110,000 BGIA contract.) He appears to have violated the RICE notice on several occasions, by mentioning the names of teachers, principals, etc., without those individuals receiving proper notification that they were to be discussed at a public meeting.
When David Sarnoff and Tracy Mattei (later dropped out of race) filed petitions to run for the BOE, Mr. Bang challenged their petitions. Showing his true nature, John Bang chose to try to win at any cost, attempting desperately to eliminate the competition, rather than running on his record and/ or on his own merits. While what he did was perfectly legal, it shows a true flaw in his character.
John Bang does not react well at BOE meetings when criticism is set forth by attendees. The Board had proposed a contract for services by an out-of-state company with a Korean CEO. A question was raised about the possibility of this CEO being personally connected to a local Fort Lee Korean businessman. Instead of responding appropriately to a valid question, Mr. Bang publically embarrassed himself with accusations of racism. This is what might be termed the “Al Sharpton defensive syndrome”. When you cannot come up with an intelligent answer or are attempting to evade a question, you accuse the inquirer of racism.
There have been rumors in the community of Mr. Bang’s desire to be a Borough Councilman. While his attendance at BOE meetings has been subpar, Mr. Bang was able to find sufficient time to attend the Democratic National Convention. It would seem to be fair assessment that John Bang views this BOE position as a stepping stone in his political career. This would seem to be his priority, rather than improving the education for the children of Fort Lee.
There are three seats open with four candidates vying for them. The future of Fort Lee education is in the hands of the voting public. It is time for the community to do “their homework” and elect those candidates that will perform with the dedication that our children truly deserve.