The Kings Park Board of Education is set to file a petition to the New York State Commissioner of Education that could remove trustee Liz Barrett amidst allegations that she shared confidential school information with an undisclosed third party.
Barrett would not comment on the petition, and referred all questions to her attorney John Bracken from the firm Braken Margolin Besunder.
The 3-2 vote in favor of sending the petition was supported by trustees Marie Goldstein, Bill Motherway and Tom Locascio. Barrett and trustee Steve Weber voted against the motion.
also on a 3-2 vote, with Barrett abstaining and Weber voting no.
Bracken said he spoke with Barrett and was aware of the vote to go ahead but had not yet received papers from LaRusso and Conway, the firm hired by the district to investigate the claim.
“I know little about the particulars. I have been told by Mr. Conway that I will receive papers by tomorrow morning,” said Bracken.
Bracken called the allegations, “absolute nonsense” and said he is waiting to see what has been gathered from the investigation.
Bracken said he thought it was unlikely, even if the allegations were proven true, that Barrett would be removed from the board.
“Assuming she did something, and I don’t think she did what they claimed she did, the likelihood is next to zero,” said Bracken.
When a petition for removal is submitted, the possible outcomes would be to remove or leave the trustee in place according to Jay Worona, general counsel and director of legal and policy services for the New York State School Boards Association.
"New York State law does not permit some hybrid situation where we want to censure a board member. No censure or reprimand. The only thing you can do is remove them,” said Worona.
If Barret is cleared of the allegations, attorney Joseph Conway said it is possible that her legal fees would be reimbursed to her by the district.
Conway said Barrett will be served with papers on Thursday and she has 20 days to respond to the petition.
"She will be served tomorrow through her attorney and have time to respond and answer and will have an opportunity to litigate in front of the commissioner to answer the allegations," said Conway.