By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS
The Asbury Park Board of Education’s long-time business administrator and board secretary has submitted his resignation after more than 15 years with the district to take a lateral position with the Ocean Township Board of Education.
Geoffrey P. Hastings was paid $170,000 in Asbury Park. He was replaced by an interim business administrator who is to work three days a week. Melissa Simmons will be paid $750 a day for three days for the appointment which expires June 30, 2024. There also is an assistant board secretary in that office, according to the district’s website. The salary for Simmons could go higher if officials decide they need more than part-time service.
Personnel was very much on the minds of some board members recently when they were asked to sign off on two full-time positions – each valued at more than $100,000, for a special education director and supervisor. When asked to justify the different duties between each, School Superintendent Dr. RaShawn M. Adams said both positions were needed.
The board has hired three people for the supervisor position over the last two years, provoking Board Member Tracy Rogers to ask why the district can’t seem to keep these positions filled and whether there is actually a need – in a district which positions itself as engaged in a severe financial crisis.
Board member Barbara Lesinski said the position was already approved and budgeted for. “This is just filling a vacancy,” she said.
But Board Member Joe Grillo had significant questions – which were largely unanswered – about the positions.
“This was just put on the agenda two hours ago,” said Grillo, noting he discovered the addition on his drive home from work.
“This makes it kind of hard to digest and then come up with meaningful questions.”
Lesinski said the board members who are not on the personnel committee need to trust the ones who are or perhaps the board should do away with committees and allow a discussion of issues before the whole board.
“I sort of like that,” said Board Member Anthony Remy.
Meanwhile as Rogers continued to ask questions, Lesinski suggested the board might be violating the Open Public Meetings Act by discussing off mike these issues before the public.