The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

June 18, 2014

Petitions to remove board members tossed

MIDDLEBURG — Separate petitions to remove two elected Midd-West School board directors have been thrown out by a Snyder County Court.

Judge Michael T. Hudock issued two separate orders dismissing the petitions filed by Mount Pleasant Mills resident Jenn Arbogast and endorsed by about 300 residents to remove board president Victor Abate and director Ronald Wilson for neglect of duty.

“That’s disappointing,” Arbogast said.

Hudock tossed the petitions after sustaining Abate and Wilson’s preliminary objections to the claims based on Arbogast’s failure to verify by oath or affirmation at least three of the taxpayers who signed the petition.

Arbogast had also failed to file an answer or brief to the directors’ preliminary objections. She said Wednesday that she is considering refiling the petitions.

Neither Abate or Wilson returned calls for comment. Their terms on the board expire in 2015.

The petitions were circulated in mid-April amid a flurry of controversial decisions, actions and public comments made by board members.

As board president, Abate was singled out for allegedly using his position to carry out personal vendettas. Wilson was accused of harassing and threatening behavior, including threatening staff and faculty with termination and criminal action against Beavertown Pastor James Plank, who had raised concerns in a private letter to the board.

Meanwhile, a third petition to oust board director Nancy Kroh on the grounds that she acted unlawfully and was negligent in her duties when she served as board president is proceeding.

Kroh denies any wrongdoing and has asked the court to dismiss the petition filed by Middleburg resident Kenneth Keister and endorsed by 73 district taxpayers.

A hearing on Kroh’s preliminary objections is scheduled for July 9.

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