.

Edward Pearce Disqualified From Service on Township Board of Education

The board has 65 days to interview interested candidates and select a replacement.

Edward Pearce was disqualified by the State Department of Education from service on the Gloucester BOE following completion of his background check. (Patch file photo)
Edward Pearce was disqualified by the State Department of Education from service on the Gloucester BOE following completion of his background check. (Patch file photo)
A Gloucester Township Board of Education member whose swift swearing in was criticized by residents was disqualified from board service by the State Department of Education, according to a video posted online.

Edward Pearce was disqualified upon the Department of Education’s completion of Pearce’s background check. The reason for Pearce’s disqualification was unknown.

Because Pearce was legally seated, all decisions he made as a member of the Board of Education will stand, according to state law. The State of New Jersey conducts background checks on board of education members after they are elected into office.

Pearce was chosen by the board in December from a group of 16 candidates to fill the final year of Andrew Lalli’s term.Lalli resigned in November, less than a week after the Board of Education elections.

He was sworn in less than a week later, drawing the fire of critics from the public who questioned the speed of his appointment, the swearing in and his credentials. Pearce is a local union official and lacks a college degree.

Some board members were even surprised by how quickly Pearce was sworn in.

Board members defended his selection, citing his background in labor acting as a strength when it came to negotiations.

The Board of Education has 65 days from the effective date of Pearce’s disqualification to name a replacement. It is permitted to interview interested members of the public and vote for the candidate they feel is the most qualified during a public session.

If the board doesn’t fill the vacancy within 65 days, Interim Camden County Executive Superintendent C. Ann Volk would name the replacement.

One resident in attendance at the meeting suggested on the video that the board allow the county to name the replacement as the board “had the opportunity and failed miserably.”

Another resident expressed concern that someone with a criminal background sat in closed session discussions with the Board of Education and discussed confidential matters relating to the township’s children.

Gloucester Township Superintendent of Schools John Bilodeau didn’t return a phone message seeking comment on Thursday.

Volk didn’t return a phone message seeking comment on Thursday.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Monday night at the Anne A. Mullen Middle School.

Jennifer February 22, 2014 at 10:35 AM
SO many people have SO much to say……but it's ONLY the same 2 people, month after month, saying it in the right place. We will give up eventually. Not because we never get anywhere with the board, it will be because of the lack of public willing to do the same thing.
Bob Kola February 22, 2014 at 11:30 AM
If the School Board and Township Council didn't hold their meetings on the same night you might have 3 to 5 more people at both.
Bea Coyle February 22, 2014 at 12:07 PM
That is exactly why they hold meetings at the same time. Their goal is to discourage people from attending. And when a large crowd does come out and it has ,they call in the Police to stand guard over them. Funny tho the night Pearces "friend"confronted a Mom to intimidate her, they didn't have a Police Officer present. Like everything else its just all about them.
Paul J. DiBartolo February 22, 2014 at 02:12 PM
The message from GT leadership is loud and clear..."Shut up and sit down!" In other words...B.O.E. -> "Tell the Council to switch their meeting night." GT Council -> "Our meeting agenda is set for the year." Bottom line from both of these entities, "It doesn't matter what the people want, they're only good for paying the bills."

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »