From Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post:
Leticia Colon’s right to return to the city school board–despite spending months on the City Council while a state-appointed board was in charge of the school district–won’t be decided by the judge who set the ground rules for Sept. 4′s special election, according to the attorney who has asked for clarification.
Josephine Miller, who represents returning school board member Sauda Baraka and others, said Superior Court Judge Salvatore Agati has indicated the matter is not his jurisdiction.
Undeterred, Miller said she plans to return with a new court motion challenging not only Colon’s legal standing, but returning board member Thomas Mulligan’s as well.
“We will definitely be taking further action. I just can’t say exactly when it is going to be,” Miller said.
Since both Colon and Mulligan declared before the state Board of Education in July 2011 they were incapable of serving, Miller said it stands to reason they should not be serving.
“They gave up their seats. They said ‘We’re incompetent.’ How come they are playing musical chairs. In one minute, out, then in again,” Miller said.
The state Supreme Court ruled last February that city and state officials were wrong when they replaced the elected school board; it also ordered the return of the five elected board members whose terms had not expired after the special election to fill vacant seats was held and certified.
Miller wanted clarification because the City Charter says individuals can not sit on two boards or commissions at once. Her contention is Colon gave up her right to a school board seat when she was elected to the council.
City Attorney Mark Anastasi told the school board at its Monday organizational meeting that he disagrees. He said the elected school board, disbanded by the state Board of Education, did not come back into existence until after the special election, so Colon was not holding two positions. She resigned from the council on Sept. 7, the day the election was certified.
John Bohannon, an attorney representing the city, said as far as he is concerned, the original matter is closed and the court can not reopen it to consider what he considers an entirely different matter. If there is a challenge of Colon’s legal status to serve on the board, he says a new motion or suit would have to be filed.
Even so, he filed an objection Thursday to Miller’s motion.
Baraka attempted to adjourn Monday’s meeting until the eligibility of all board members to serve had been clarified. She also turned down an attempt to make her board vice chair because of the uncertainty. Bohannon referred to it as “antics” in his motion to the court.
But at least one local attorney, Maximino Medina, a former chairman of the city school board, called Baraka’s action correct and consistent with her position that the legality of the meeting was in question.