School Board Member Robert Trautmann Resigns, Vows To Remove Presley, Nagy and Arline

Rob Trautmann

Board of Education member Robert Trautmann submitted his resignation on Feb. 24.

Robert Trautmann, a Board of Education member in the middle of his first term, has resigned.

But he’s not going quietly.

In his Feb. 24 resignation letter, Trautmann said his goal is to see board president Julia Presley, board vice president Eva Nagy and board member Richard Arline “removed from their position as board members and restore order, civility and professionalism to the board.”

Trautmann sent the letter to board business administrator John Calavano.

“In my opinion, this board is controlled by individuals that seek only their own political gains and are not operating in the best interests of the district,” Trautmann wrote in his resignation letter. “I believe that decisions are not made by taking into consideration what is best for the district, but rather what would best secure the votes of the people speaking at the microphone. Politics and special interest have taken the place of the primary directive of a board of education which is to see that the district is well run.”

Trautmann was among the minority of board members who opposed the move to oust former schools Superintendent Edward Seto. He has also filed ethics complaints against Presley.

In his resignation letter, Trautmann said he would be filing additional ethics complaints against Presley, Nagy and Arline.

Trautmann did not elaborate on those complaints in the letter.

In thanking Calavano for his “years of dedicated service” to the school district, Trautmann said Calavano’s “unwavering dedication and professionalism provides a modicum of stability in the current toxic environment of the Franklin Township Public Schools.”

“To say the district faces challenges would be a gross understatement,” Trautmann wrote. “The problem is that, absent a monumental shift in the composition of the Franklin Township Board of Education, there is no chance that these problems can be rectified.”

Trautmann said that he will continue “fighting for the children of the Franklin schools. Given the unholy alliance that has formed to take control of the majority of the board, I simply believe I have accomplished all that I can from the ‘inside’.”

In a separate interview, Trautmann said that he is “sad that the board is being controlled by political interests and not what is in the best interests of the children of Franklin. I believe that in order to bring any positive change to the board, the voters must end Eva Nagy’s 20-plus year reign this November.”

Once it accepts Trautmann’s resignation, the board has 65 days to find his replacement for the remainder of his three-year term, which expires at the end of 2015. The position has to be advertised, and interviews of candidates must be held in public by the entire board, according to the board’s bylaws.

If the board cannot agree on a replacement in 65 days, the Somerset County Executive Superintendent of Schools will pick someone.

The board is scheduled to publicly meet on Feb. 27.

Presley and Nagy declined to comment for this story. Arline did not immediately return a request for comment. If and when he does, this report will be updated.

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