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Ethics Complaint Dismissed Against Gloucester City School Board Vice President - SJ OBSERVER

By Anne Forline | South Jersey Observer 6a00d8341bf7d953ef01b8d147a14f970c-320wi

In response to an OPRA (Open Public Records) Request filed with the School Ethics Commission (SEC), South Jersey Observer has learned that on February 23, 2016, the SEC dismissed an Ethics Complaint that had been filed against Gloucester City Board of Education Vice President, Jackie Borger.


Shelley Mealey of Woolwich, N.J. filed an Ethics Complaint*on October 26, 2015 against Borger. Mealey asserted that Borger violated N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24.1 (e) of the School Ethics Act, which states: “I will recognize that authority rests with the board of education and will make no personal promises nor take any private action that may compromise the board.”

At issue is a letter that Borger wrote to Mealey’s superintendent wherein Borger stated she was “Vice President of the Gloucester City School Board.”

As part of the case analysis, Robert Bender, Chairperson of the SEC wrote: “Respondent’s [Borger’s] official position as the Vice President of the Gloucester City Board holds no sway over the actions of the Woodstown Board; she simply has no authority to effect change in that District or determine its policies or actions…Respondent’s actions could not compromise the Gloucester City Board as the private action she took in a personal matter did not call into question any issue, deliberation, or vote taken by the Gloucester City Board.”

At its January 26, 2016 meeting, the SEC dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The SEC further found the Complaint was not frivolous.

When contacted for comment about the decision, Shelley Mealey wrote in an email: “We filed the complaint on the advice of our lawyer. We will not be appealing for the simple fact that we just want to move on and forget the trauma that our family has been through.”

Jackie Borger also responded via email: “I had no doubt that the Ethics Commission would rule in my favor.”

The Gloucester City School District did not pay for Borger’s legal defense in this matter, Board Secretary Peg McDonnell confirmed in an email.

The SEC’s full decision is available here.

*Article updated to note that the Complaint provided by the School Ethics Commission contained portions that were redacted.


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