Committee member booted after talking to the press


Staff Writer

MILLSTONE — Board of Education member Thomas Foley is alleging that the president of the board is a hypocrite.

Foley has been removed from a board committee that works with the Upper Freehold Regional School District. His removal followed comments he made to the Examiner that garnered a public response from both the Millstone and the Upper Freehold Regional Board of Education presidents.

“The truth is exposed today,” Foley said, regarding his removal. “The hypocrisy is deafening.”

Foley said he stands in protest of Millstone Township Board of Education President Kathy Winecoff. He alleged she “says one thing to the public and another behind the scenes.”

“Kathy Winecoff, Board of Education president,” Foley said, “builds trust with the public and punishes board members for exercising their rights under the law, which supersedes policy.”

In December, Millstone’s Board of Education voted to dissolve its Upper Freehold Representation Committee, which sought to gain additional Millstone seats on the Upper Freehold Regional board.

Currently, Millstone holds one seat on the 10-member Upper Freehold Regional board, although its students account for more than half the pupils attending Allentown High School. Millstone has a send/receive relationship with the Upper Freehold Regional District, as it does not have its own high school.

Winecoff said the plan to gain additional seats on the Upper Freehold Regional board fell through and the committee’s focus changed. Since the focus of the committee shifted, Winecoff decided to dissolve the Representation Committee in December in order to form a partnership committee.

At that time, Foley said Winecoff dissolved the committee because he had publicly commented on Millstone’s relationship with Upper Freehold. He also alleged that Winecoff would ultimately remove him from the committee, which consisted of Foley, Winecoff, Sami Qutub and Holly Deitz.

Winecoff recently wrote Foley an e-mail stating that a decision was made after the board’s Jan. 9 meeting that the new Partnership Committee would consist of herself, Qutub, Deitz and Laura Dreifus.

“Considering the turn of events surrounding newspaper articles and the response by the president of the [Upper Freehold Regional] Board of Education,” Winecoff wrote in the e-mail, “I feel that it is in the best interests of this board to make the above mentioned change.”

When asked about the change on the committee, Winecoff said, “Due to the unfavorable articles regarding Upper Freehold, I felt it was in the best interests of both boards for this change to occur.”

Winecoff said that the decision to remove Foley was not made unilaterally, and that the board would discuss the issue at its Jan. 23 meeting.

After his removal, Foley sent an e-mail to Winecoff, alleging that she did not communicate the real reason for the change in the Partnership Committee. He also accused her of misleading the public.

“You [Winecoff] are taking direct action to punish me for speaking the same words I’ve said publicly at the board table,” Foley wrote in the e-mail.

The Examiner published a letter from Winecoff on Jan. 19. The letter stated that Foley’s previous comments to the Examiner did not represent the viewpoints of the board.

In one Examiner article, Foley questioned the Millstone Township school district’s relationship with the Upper Freehold Regional Board of Education. The article garnered a response from Upper Freehold Regional Board of Education President Jeanette Bressi.

In a Nov. 23 letter to the editor, Bressi called Foley’s comments “inaccurate” and “irresponsible rhetoric.”

In her letter, Winecoff also objected to Foley’s Oct. 27 letter to the editor, in which he identified himself as a Board of Education member and endorsed political candidates.

“The board has made it a practice not to endorse political candidates,” Winecoff stated in her letter.