WILDWOOD — Tony Totah, former member of the Board of Education, asked the board Aug. 15 to justify their appointment of new member Christopher Chobert.
“How can you appoint someone that has no experience over someone with experience?” Totah asked the board.
Chobert, a Wildwood Police Officer, filled Commissioner Gary De-Marzo’s vacant seat. If he wants to keep his position, Chobert will have to run for election in April 2008.
Totah had opted not to seek reelection in April because of his involvement in the city’s municipal election. However his bid for a place on the commission was unsuccessful and he put in an application to return to a post on the school board.
“We discussed both candidates,” said Theresa DiFalco, board vice president, of Totah and Chobert. “But when the vote came back the board decided to back Mr. Chobert.”
“I can tell you that it was nothing personal to you,” she added.
“I would think you would want someone with experience,” Totah reiterated. “What kind of message does that send?”
“At one time we all had to come here with-out experience,” said DiFalco. “We don’t want to chase away everyone who is looking to con-tribute something.”
When Totah asked the board if the appointment was due to pressure from city hall, his re-sponse was a number of raised voices.
“It is not proper for you to question the integrity of this school board,” said one member amidst the din.
“The fact that you are insinuating that city hall has anything to do with this is ridiculous,” added Ernie Troiano III.
Superintendent Dennis Anderson told Totah that the board runs the school district, “not some other outside force.”
“I can assure you that nobody from city hall is saying what we should and shouldn’t do,” he added.
Anderson said that al-though it is unfortunate when a seat on the board is not awarded when someone looks for an appointment, he hopes that interested parties will continue to be involved, either through running for election or submitting other applications.
Chobert declined to comment on Totah’s statements.