By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS
Earlier this month, the Ocean Township Board of Education organized for the school year by swearing in incumbent board members Amy McGovern and Steve Clayton and GraceAnne Talarico. But officials received notification this week there was an error in tabulation.
It appears Clayton may have lost by one vote to Jeffrey Weinstein.
The board also elected as its new president; long-time member and school teacher Irene Gilman. She said in a bit of breaking news that the election is not yet settled.
“On Tues., Jan.17 our district received official notification from the Board of Elections regarding a tabulation error in the Election Systems Software program used in Monmouth County’s voting machines,” she said.
At press time, the Ocean Township Board of Education was working closely with the Board of Elections to resolve the situation and ensure the integrity of the Nov. 8, 2022 election.
These are the results before the announcement.
McGovern was top vote getter, with 4,470, Talarico was next with 3,788 and Clayton rounded out the assumed victors with 3,523. But only 20 votes separated Clayton and former school Board President Jeffrey Weinstein who earned 3,503 votes. Candidate Helena M. Peppe earned 2,995 and Kurt Dziebela received 2,372 votes. There were 70 write-in votes and a total of 20,721 votes were cast.
The successful candidates will serve – without pay – until 2025.
Gilman was elected without opposition while two names were submitted for board vice president; Natalie Tortorello was successful, with only three opposing votes.
“To me, this is the culmination of a career dedicated to education,” Gilman said.
Michael Riley, who has been president of the Ocean Township Education Association for 25 years, called 2023 a “pivotal year” with the board searching for a new superintendent to replace retiring James Stefankiewicz and with new union elections as Riley is stepping down
“You will be picking our new superintendent – unfortunately sooner rather than later,” said Riley who noted he has served under five superintendents.”Your decisions will affect our town for years and years to come.”
The deadline for applying for superintendent was Jan. 6. The new superintendent will start July 1.
Mayor John P. Napolitani, Sr. also was on hand at the meeting to congratulate the board and to note that while Riley has served under five superintendents, Napolitani, who is an educator in Asbury Park, has served under 15 during the same time period. He said the governing body wants to continue to meet with the school board to discuss ways to cooperate.