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.