Judge rules in Roque’s favor in BOE case

Administrative Law Judge Solomon Metzger Monday ruled invalid the appointments of West New York Board of Education members Janet Passante and Alexander Locatelli.

Former Mayor Sal Vega had appointed the pair as he departed, and his successor, Mayor Felix Roque, protested.

The decision indicates that the appointments violated N.J.S.A. 40: 73-5, which prohibits appointments to boards between the first Tuesday and third Tuesday in May during an election year.

“To allow improperly appointed members to sit casts doubt on decisions taken and generally undermines public trust,” Metzger said.

Roque celebrated the decision.

“I expect that the School Board will respect the rule of law and honor the judge’s decision,” said the new mayor. “The message has been sent by the residents of West New York and the Court that we will not stand for politics as usual.” 

Roque has requested that Passante and Locatelli step down immediately. The Board of Ed is scheduled for a meeting on Wednesday, and Assistant Town Attorney Joe DeMarco has sent a request to the Board of Ed asking for them to sit the two appointments made by Roque.

“To hold a meeting with illegal members taints the whole process and destroys the confidence of the community in the school system,” said DeMarco.

Judge rules in Roque’s favor in BOE case