Monday, May 6, 2013

Watch for LaMargo to be voted new president of District 135 School Board

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Joe LaMargo is no political mechanic. He's not a political fixer. He's not one of these political gadflies that runs for office every two years. And, he's not a fanatic. He's just a smart, average guy with a perfect personality to repair the black eye politics always seems to dish out to people who enter public service and are tossed around like trees in a hurricane.
When the District 135 School Board meets, the odds are he will be elected the new board president.
School District 135 has been having problems and it was reflected in this past election on April 9 when outgoing board members started to think of themselves instead of the kids.
It's a complicated story but so is every pathetic political story, sadly. Read the column I wrote about it by clicking here.

Basically, the president of the board, John Carmody, quit and the next day several of the board members who lost re-election, tried to select his replacement.

In principle, that is disgusting. I mean, the voters spoke and threw out the board members and replaced them with four new faces. Now, the ousted board members want to decide who fills a vacancy that would put someone on the board without voter support for maybe two years until the next scheduled election.

That choice should be made by the new board and Joe LaMargo, who was elected to the School Board in 2011, made that point without a hesitation.

That's what you should look for in good leadership. Someone who knows what the right thing to do is, without sticking a finger up in the air to see which way the public opinion wind is blowing. And LaMargo didn't hesitate to express his opinions.

Clearly, one of the people behind the move included attorney John Fotopoulos who called LaMargo to ask if he would support him if he was named to replace Carmody on the board. Fotopoulos hasn't returned my email but it was a holiday this past week -- Orthodox Easter, which I celebrate, too.

Fortunately, the outgoing board failed to get a quorum. The special meeting they called flipping the finger at the will of the voters, collapsed. Fotopoulos was not installed. It was a dumb move that could probably have negative repercussions in future elections, for sure.

Five candidates are being considered and LaMargo has suggested that maybe the new board member should be someone who is not a teacher and not a member of the union. Schools are overwhelmed by the interests of teachers and unions and while I support both, sometimes, they are too heavyhanded.

How about a parent. Maybe a mother who has a child or children in the District 135 schools. Someone who can give the board a perspective that needs more weight.

Regardless, District 135h Schools are in good hands with LaMargo. His election as board president would be the smartest first step the district could take.

-- Ray Hanania

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