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Westwood School Board Plans Another Closed Meeting to Discuss Zoeller

The Westwood Regional Board of Education is investigating Superintendent Geoffrey Zoeller after he took home a district-owned truck and generator and left them there while on vacation.

The Westwood Regional Board of Education is scheduled to hold another closed meeting this week to discuss Superintendent Geoffrey Zoeller.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday and "immediately enter into closed Executive Session for the purpose of discussion of Personnel/Superintendent of Schools," according to a post on the district's website. The board also held closed meetings before and after their last public meeting to discuss Zoeller.

Board members are not permitted to discuss personnel issues unless the employee waives his right to privacy.

Many Westwood and Washington Township residents were angry that Zoeller had taken a district-owned truck and generator home for Hurricane Sandy and left them there while he was away on vacation in Florida.

Zoeller apologized at the board's last public meeting, but many residents were still upset. Westwood Education Association President Barry Albert also called for Zoeller to step down because the union voted 222-19 in having "no confidence" in Zoeller's ability to lead the district with integrity.

Board of Education President Carol Mountain previously said they would only take action during a public meeting.

Zoeller has apparently been laying low recently, and rumors have circulated that he was forced to take a leave of absence. Zoeller denied the rumors in an email to Patch and wrote that he was "taking some vacation time."

The board's next public meeting is scheduled for December 20. No agenda has been posted for the meeting yet.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Enraged Parent December 18, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Its great to see so much anger and energy about Zoeller and Cerco on this blog, but now what?? This energy has to be challenged into change and making things better. There are 2 people in "acting" roles replacing Zoe and Cer, they should know how you feel!! Yes, I will be attending the meeting, but I also want to let people know, this isnt one bad incident for each of them, Zoe and Cer have been aggressive, evil, angry, misguided bullies for years!! That needs to be heard!! Tell your story and add your voice to the chorus. Let's make our school system known for good, intelligence, friendliness.... not a terror reign!!
Westwoodian since '91 December 18, 2012 at 08:35 PM
I know we all want an answer on Thursday night, but I doubt that will happen. Nothing moves quickly when it comes to removing ANYONE in education. We have to be patient... yeah, I know, we want it taken care of now, but let's make sure that it's done properly and fairly. If not, we are no better than those we wish to remove.
andromeda December 24, 2012 at 04:46 AM
The cure for this disease is 1-All BOE meetings, work sessions and formal meetings, need to be voluntarily made open to the public. The Board should agree to having those sessions audiotaped,videotaped, and broadcast on community TV. (Come on people! There should be no hesitation from any board member on this.)Those unedited tapes should be kept at the local library, not the BOE office. 2-All public sessions should be VOLUNTARILY broadcast on community TV.All local towns do this, flip thru the channels, you'll see. 3-There is a very narrow definition of what is to be discussed privately. BOE members need to become familiar with this (I'm sure they already are) and honor it (which they currently don't). Then they must inform us when it can become public. 4-Stop having private retreats to discuss public business, it just looks bad! 5-Stop editing the minutes! Our minutes are heavily edited. Release them to the public in a timely fashion and keep them at the library, not the BOE office. 6-Use technology to keep the community informed and connected. Participation will become easier and more convenient for us all. (No matter what they say publicly about community involvement, 7 BOE members will fight this tooth and nail, they don't want anyone to know what goes on.)
andromeda December 24, 2012 at 04:53 AM
7-Get new lawyers across the board, the ones we use appear to be giving some seriously poor advice. Consider going back to the large, NJ law firm that is well respected across the state, the one we used to use. Not the cronies Zoeller brought in. 8- Develop a community watchdog organization 9-Enlist the help of the many volunteer open government advocates in our state to work with us to help us enact these changes. It's for our own protection!!! Lets work together to redeem the good name of our communities and the many good people who live here!
andromeda December 24, 2012 at 05:01 AM
I forgot 10 10- If the Board continues to have retreats, everything listed above applies to their retreats. That is minutes available to public, videotaping, audiotaping, public disclosure, etc. , etc., etc.,

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