Middletown, NJ- Board of Education Member Vincent Brand has accused his fellow Board Member, Joan Minnuies, of using her official capacity on the Board for the benefit of her daughter’s employment at Middletown High School North and of using her position to recruit Middletown North students to volunteer at her granddaughter’s birthday party in exchange for a letter stating that they performed volunteer hours.
Minnuies says that Brand’s accusations, which were lodged as an Ethics Complaint with New Jersey’s School Ethics Commission, are “bogus” and “political motivated.” Minnuies is standing for reelection next Tuesday.
According to Brand’s complaint, Minnuies opposed efforts by Dr. William George, Schools Superintendent, to hire a new business instruction teacher, Miss Devan Crimi, at MHSN because Crimi is also an “elite” lacrosse and field hockey coach who was an Academic and Athletic All-American in lacrosse while a college student at Adelphi University. Minnuies daughter, Jenna Minnuies Jackson, is employed by the school district as a coach of field hockey, bowling and lacrosse.
Brand’s complaint alleges that a personnel committee meeting on May 5, that Minnuies accused Dr. George of inappropriately trying to hire Crimi because he knows her and not because of her qualifications. In August Jackson met with Athletic Director Rich Carroll and complained that the administration was trying to replace her as a coach with Crimi. At a School Board meeting on September 21, Minnuies voted against hiring Crimi. Crimi was hired, as all other Board Members approved.
Brand claims that Minnuies conduct regarding Crimi’s employment violates the Ethics Act and the Code of Ethics.
In his second complaint, Brand alleges that Minnuies arranged for Middletown High School North students to volunteer for 5 hours at a private birthday party that Minnuies hosted at her home on July 18 for her granddaughter, Jackson’s daughter,in exchange for a letter commemorating their volunteerism.
Brand’s complaint stated as fact that assisting with the private birthday party of a child of a school district coach and the grandchild of a board member is not volunteering or community service. It is a personal favor at the request of a coach and board
member that places the student athletes in an impossible situation, does not have the district’s best interests at heart, and places the entire board, administration and school district in an unethical light.
In a statement emailed to MoreMonmouthMusing, Munniues said, “This is not the first attempt to harass and intimidate me. This complaint is bogus, and clearly an election ploy to discredit me. I have full confidence that the Ethics Commission will see this for the frivolous complaint it is. If you have any other questions about the process please contact the Board Attorney.”