Pinelands Regional Board of Education Picks Replacement for Bonicky

By Rick Mellerup | Jun 26, 2019

Little Egg Harbor Township — The Pinelands Regional School District Board of Education selected a new member, Andrew (A.J.) Barchetto, at its June 19 meeting. The board had a vacancy because of the unexpected resignation of longtime member Jeff Bonicky at its May 15 meeting. The district immediately started accepting applications for the open slot and five candidates emerged, four men and one woman, whom the board briefly interviewed in open session toward the beginning of its June meeting.

All of the candidates resided in Little Egg Harbor Township, which Bonicky had represented. The board has nine members. Six, including its president and vice president, represent LEH while the other constituent municipalities, Bass River Township, Eagleswood Township and Tuckerton borough, have one representative each, owing to the town’s small size.

The same four questions were asked of each of the candidates by board President Susan Ernst:

1. What specific qualities and skills do you possess that will enhance our board operations?

2. What do you think our board member’s primary responsibilities are and what do you believe your role is in the community as it relates to being a board member?

3. How many board of education meetings here at Pinelands have you attended in the past? Why did you come?

4. Please explain your knowledge or understanding of the time and training commitments that will be required of you as a board member. Could you explain any understanding that you have of the ethics by which a board member is bound?

Barchetto was especially able to make a strong case for himself in responding to the first question, thanks to first-hand experience.

“I’m entering my 20th year in education,” he said. “I’ll be entering my fourth year in administration as supervisor of special education at Oakcrest High School (in Hamilton, Atlantic County). I did spend a short period of time filling a vacancy at Little Egg Harbor Board of Education, so I have a lot of skills in terms of financial responsibility, planning, program building.”

The board attorney explained the process of the board’s vote that followed. A nomination by a board member had to be seconded to include that person in the voting. After the nomination process was completed, the candidates would be voted on in order of their nomination. The first candidate to receive five votes would be selected.

Barchetto was the first candidate to be nominated with a second, so he was the first candidate on whom the board voted. He received the backing of five members – Ernst, Vice President Patricia Chambers, Betti Anne McVey, Christie Palladino and Kim Hanadel. Stephen Kubricki and Thomas D. Williams Jr. voted no. The eighth member of the board, Karen Poklkuha, was not present. So Barchetto had his five votes and the matter was resolved.

Barchetto, after undergoing a police background check complete with fingerprinting, will be sworn in at the board’s next meeting. He will serve the remainder of 2019 but would have to win an election in the November election to continue after that.

Note: The next board meeting, which was originally scheduled for July 17, will now be held on July 24. The August meeting, originally set for Aug. 14, is now scheduled for Aug. 21. Both meetings will be held at the multi-purpose room at Frog Pond Elementary School, located at 307 Frog Pond Rd., Little Egg Harbor because the Pinelands Regional Junior High School will not be available due to construction.

After the meeting Barchetto, a resident of Little Egg Harbor Township for approximately 11 years, was asked why he had been interested in serving on the board. He said he had five children, ranging from pre-K to seventh grade, so he obviously had an interest in Pinelands Regional’s future.

Rick Mellerup

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