Porcaro fails in attempt to rescind resignation


Staff Writer

ENGLISHTOWN – Despite having second thoughts about submitting it, Dorothy Porcaro’s letter of resignation will stand and she is no longer a member of the K-8 Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education.

Up until last week, Porcaro had been one of the eight members of the board who represent Manalapan. Board member Lori Semel is the lone representative from Englishtown.

The board will now seek a Manalapan resident to be appointed to the panel and serve until the next election in April.

At the Oct. 10 meeting, board attorney John Dawes said that based on case law he reviewed, Porcaro’s offered resignation in late September, despite being followed by a letter rescinding the resignation, did not require further action by board members and stood on its own as presented.

“It’s my opinion the resignation stands, but you can overrule me,” Dawes told the board members.

The board members accepted Dawes’ opinion.

Two board members chose to comment on the matter.

Joanne Orr stepped off the dais and said she wanted to address the board as a resident and not as a member. Commenting on the Porcaro decision, Orr said, “It is a sorry day for Manalapan Township and the Manalapan school system.”

Semel was not as complimentary in her comment regarding Porcaro’s resignation. Semel said although she appreciated Porcaro’s “hard work over the years,” she had been taken aback by an article published in a daily newspaper that announced Porcaro’s intended resignation before it had been delivered to the board.

“If it had remained a private matter that would have been one thing, but after it appeared in the paper and had been read by thousands of people, well, that was something else,” Semel said.

Porcaro told the News Transcript she regretted having spoken to the other reporter prior to apprising board members of her intention to resign. She said she had not been aware the story would appear in the newspaper before the next scheduled school board meeting.

In her Sept. 20 letter of resignation which was read into the record, Porcaro wrote that she was resigning from her five-year tenure on the board because “… I no longer have the will or desire to sit on this board of education because things are never going to change. I’m tired of feeling ineffective and watching the board accomplish nothing.”

Board President Anthony Manisero said that prior to the panel’s Sept. 26 meeting, he contacted Porcaro and asked her to reconsider her decision to resign.

During the board’s Sept. 26 meeting, Manisero read a letter from Porcaro in which she stated her desire to withdraw her letter of resignation.

The matter lingered for two more weeks as Dawes researched case law on the matter.

Porcaro told the News Transcript she had tendered her resignation for several reasons. First, she said, she was frustrated with “how the system works.”

“I feel the board has reached a point where we’re not getting a whole lot done, and maybe that is the system,” she said.

Also, she said, the stress of her frustration was starting to take a toll on her health. Porcaro, 48, is the mother of two children. She said her father died from a massive heart attack when he was 47.

She said the stress that resulted from the delayed opening of the renovated Manalapan Englishtown Middle School this school year exacerbated health problems and led her to think, “It might be time to take care of Dotty.”

She said she offered to reconsider her resignation because Manisero convinced her they still had a lot of things to accomplish as board members. She said Manisero worked as tirelessly as she did to effect the quickest possible opening of MEMS.

However, Porcaro was matter-of-fact about the ultimate decision not to let her rescind her letter of resignation. Speaking of leaving the board and some of the members with whom she said she had bonded due to a shared vision for the students and the district, Porcaro said, “I’m not saying I’m not going with a heavy heart, but at least I can look back and know I did some good work, and I’m proud of that.”