Press-Republican

Local News

June 12, 2014

Man can't serve on WCS Board

WILLSBORO — A possible conflict of interest means Herb Longware can't serve on Willsboro Central School Board.

Longware was elected to a three-year seat on May 20, the top vote-getter in the race with 214 votes.

However, Superintendent of Schools Stephen Broadwell said in a statement on Wednesday, Longware is employed by Cable Communications of Willsboro, which has a long-term contractual arrangement with Willsboro Central for Internet and cable service.

"After the election and research," Broadwell said, "it was determined that NYS General Municipal Law prohibits any officer, including board members, from having a direct interest in a contract over which they have any responsibility to negotiate or approve. 

"This is true," he continued, "even if the business is the only service provider or if the member refrains from voting on any potential conflicts or issues regarding his business."

4 SOUGHT 2 SEATS

Ironically, one of the strengths Longware felt he could bring to the table as a School Board member was his strong technology background.

"I feel the students are the No. 1 priority," he also told the Press-Republican before the election. "I would also like to improve student school/life skills, such as time management, homework tips and effective study techniques.”

Incumbents Craig Jackson and Jon Steeves did not seek re-election, which resulted in four candidates seeking those two three-year seats.

John "Jack" Thompson was also elected, with 190 votes.

Lisa Cumm and Jennifer Jacques garnered 119 and 145 votes, respectively.

'VERY UNFORTUNATE'

"It is very unfortunate that the voters' wishes will not be able to be fulfilled based on the district's longstanding contract with Cable Communications of Willsboro," Broadwell said. 

"As the only wired Internet provider, Cable Communications of Willsboro has provided quality technology services to our school district for many years.

"We appreciate the technology, both Internet and cable, (Longware's) company has provided to the district as well as his willingness to volunteer to serve his community as a Board of Education member," he added.

Broadwell said Longware would not be taking the oath of office, and the School Board will decide how to handle the resulting vacancy.

Email Suzanne Moore: smoore@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @editorSuzanne

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