By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
MIDDLEBURG — Midd-West school board president Victor Abate and director Ronald Wilson have 20 days to respond to separate petitions filed in Snyder County Court seeking their removal from the panel for neglect of duty.
Under Judge Michael T. Hudock’s order, they will be automatically removed from office unless they respond and show cause as to why the petition should not be granted.
If objections are filed, court hearings before the judge will be scheduled.
Neither Abate nor Wilson responded to calls for comment Friday.
Nearly 300 people endorsed the separate petitions seeking the removal of the two directors, who were elected in 2011.
They claim Abate has abused his power and is carrying out personal vendettas and that Wilson has violated school policy by using district email to harass employees.
In recent weeks, Wilson has sent emails threatening to fire district employees who resist the board’s directions and another threatening criminal action against Beavertown Pastor James Plank if he continued to speak out against the board’s actions.
A third director, Nancy Kroh, is also fighting a legal battle to remain on the board. A petition signed by 73 district taxpayers calling for her removal for alleged unlawful conduct and neglect of duty was filed in February.
The petitioners were recently granted more time to amend their claims before a hearing will be held.
Hudock is expected to preside over all three cases. He also will likely be called on to appoint a new board director to fill the unexpired term of Scott Norman, who resigned in March after only three months because, he said, of a lack of board leadership and ongoing conflicts.
The current eight board members were unable to cast a majority vote for any of the three candidates they interviewed Thursday for the seat. If the board is unable to come to a consensus by May 13 — the deadline for the board to appoint a new member — Abate said directors would allow the deadline to lapse and let the court decide who fills the seat.