The Mineola school board has appointed a new trustee, weeks after a board member said he would resign amid calls for his ouster by a departing trustee
Nicole Matzer, a former PTA district council leader, was sworn in to the post at a board meeting Tuesday, filling the slot vacated by board vice president Terence Hale, Superintendent Michael Nagler said.
Hale announced plans to resign in June, after trustee Irene Parrino petitioned the New York State Education Department in May, seeking his removal from the board.
Parrino filed the petition shortly after she lost her bid for re-election to Patricia Cregan Navarra. But her attorney, Oscar Michelen of Mineola, said the petition was not related to the loss.
In her petition, Parrino accused Hale of having written emails that were "inappropriate" and "unprofessional." Newsday is not publishing their contents, which Parrino shared with the newspaper.
Even with Hale off the board, Parrino said last week that she does not plan to drop the petition, which state education officials say is pending.
Nagler said the board had asked Parrino to withdraw the petition after Hale announced his intention to resign. Nagler said the district has hired outside counsel to handle the petition, since it involved two board members. He and an education department spokesman said it is likely to be found moot.
"If in fact the person who the petition was seeking to have removed has already resigned, assuming no other outstanding issues are raised and if that was the sole thing being sought, then sure it would be dismissed as moot because it is moot," Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman said.
But Parrino was resolute. "The commissioner will make the decision," she said last week.
Michelen said Parrino is concerned Hale may attempt a comeback to the board. "The resignation is not permanent, it's only temporary," Michelen said.
He added, "He's not said he's not going to return or run back to the board . . . An independent review of whether Ms. Parrino's complaints are meritorious" is needed.
Hale has not responded to requests for comment.