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Westwood School Board Wants State Input on Possible Conflict

Board Member Rusty Miller works for a family-owned business that has contracted with Westwood Regional schools since 1997.

The Westwood Regional Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a resolution Thursday to have state officials review a possible conflict of interest with new board Member Rusty Miller.

Miller works for the Westwood Truck Center, which has contracted with the district for vehicle maintenance since 1997, he said. The company is owned by Miller's family and has contracts with several area school districts.

Miller was elected in November and joined the board this month.

The resolution would send the matter to the state Commissioner of Education for review.

Board President Roberta Hanlon said she did not expect state officials to find a conflict, but they wanted to get clarification.

"This way he has the comfort that no one can accuse him of anything and the board has done its due dilligence," Hanlon said.

Miller also said he did not believe there was a conflict, but previously offered to surrender the contract. However, he could not surrender the contract because he does not own the business.

Miller described the issue as "trivial."

Board policy states that "No Board member or member of his/her immediate family shall have an interest in a business organization or engage in any business, transaction, or professional activity that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of his/her duties in the public interest."

The policy defines "immediate family" as a spouse or dependent.

The Westwood Regional Board of Education meets at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Westwood Jr./Sr. High School.

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.

Linda Andresen January 24, 2013 at 12:20 PM
Certain board members are grasping at straws here. Rusty is a good honest man who will bring good honest opinions to the board. "Too often we... Enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." John F Kennedy
TownshipMom January 24, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Thank you Roberta! At least we know we have someone with common sense. Liddy doesn't want anyone on the board that will lock horns with him and throw a wrench, no pun intended, into his self serving agenda.
TownshipMom January 24, 2013 at 01:27 PM
I am new to this so I hope I'm not boring anyone. My son plays baseball and is very upset about the direction the high school program is going. Coach Yurko ran camps and worked with my son and many others for free after practice. This new coach does nothing. Coach Yurko ran a winning program and now it appears the AD and the board are satisfied with losing. Our school district is being watched closely by many outside our district. Grades and test scores need to improve as a whole but our sports programs need to be respresentative so we can attract home buyers into both towns. We should be in the top 50 every year. All opinions are welcome. Thank you. Mom
E January 24, 2013 at 02:37 PM
It's a conflict of interest - plain and simple- regardless of personal opinions of him being a "good honest man"
Common Cents January 24, 2013 at 03:21 PM
The witch hunt has started. According to the statute, Miller is right. To my surprise, a member can hold up to ten percent of a company involved. Now that makes no sense.
Hardknocks January 24, 2013 at 04:02 PM
People, we don't live in a metropolis. These are 2 small towns, how many places can do that type of work. Obviously they bid the contract and won it based on the low bid. This is a hard working man and a good citizen that should be applauded for his efforts but instead is being made out to be a villain. Leave him alone, he's our only voice right now and we need a voice and a strong person to protect our interests.
andromeda January 24, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Keep in mind Zoeller may still be trying to control things behind the scenes. He still has very close ties to some board members. Just like this move, anything he has done, good or bad,was done thru manipulating policy, deliberately ambiguous wording, and other sneaky, underhanded, and cowardly methods. He wants to continue the grand experiment he has been conducting, using our schools as his laboratory and our kids as his subjects. That is why he has not been let loose and certain BOE members need to be removed. And not thru the voter recall method mentioned elsewhere. But thru ethics violations of their own, of which they accuse Miller. The only way to get rid of him is to get rid of them.
andromeda January 24, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Twp Mom- The best way to attract home buyers and raise property values is thru a consistently good spot on the state rankings combined with low taxes. Our towns have long been mediocre on both, buyers want to know their kids will be getting a good education. Zoeller & Co. have singlehandedly ruined our two flagship programs, music and sports, and have not improved the academic profile, among some groups they lowered academic performance.
Mary Alice Jones January 24, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Doesn't this board have more important issues before them - the Zoeller situation particularly. As a resident, tax payer and educator, I resent the delay of a decision regarding this man. Why pay a salary to a man who is not working? Our "acting" superintendent is at school till late in the evening doing two jobs. MAKE A DECISION! Mr. Liddy, stop the nonesence!
School mom January 24, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Let's start by cleaning out house - Zoeller and Cerco. Get them off the payroll . Worry about improving scores and upgrading a our subzero special Ed services !! Don't pick on a man who hasn't done anything wrong - shame on the Bd of Ed!!!
Gary Conkling January 24, 2013 at 08:40 PM
The tax payer board attorney cannot make this decision?
Westwoodian since '91 January 24, 2013 at 08:41 PM
If you look at tonight's agenda, Mr Miller is on it (#5) as is, I believe, the termination of Dr. Zoeller (#15-S) effective as of Feb. 23, 2013.
Ellen January 24, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Best news of the day!
Westwoodian since '91 January 25, 2013 at 12:33 AM
Zoeller has resigned. Effective April 25. It's on the addendum.

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