An owner’s spouse cannot be a board member

Q. I am married; however, the deed to my condominium unit in Illinois is in my name only. The declaration for our association says that a board member can be an owner or a spouse of an owner. My wife submitted a candidate form for the upcoming election to the board. Management told her told her that she is not eligible to run for the board. Can my spouse, who is not an owner, run for the board? A. Your spouse may not run for, or serve on, the board, despite the language in the declaration to the contrary. The Illinois Condominium Property Act is clear that board members are elected from among the unit owners. Your spouse is not a unit owner. Action taken by a board comprised of ineligible members may be invalid, and an ineligible board member might not be covered against claims under the association's director's and officer's liability insurance. It may be too late for the current election, but you could consider conveying an ownership interest in your unit to your spouse. As an aside, many associations do not have accurate records regarding ownership of units. It would be prudent for associations to have their counsel obtain an owner search through a title company to confirm that a candidate is an owner. They are relatively inexpensive. Many associations incorrectly use county taxpayer information to "confirm" ownership. However, that is not necessarily the same and is not a reliable source of owner information. Q. A unit owner in our association places correspondence to the other unit owners directly into the individual unit owner mailboxes at the association; that is, he does not "mail" them and the correspondence does not include any postage. Is this permitted? A. Technically, even though part of the common elements, the residential mailboxes are owned and regulated by the U.S. Postal Service. The U.S. Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual states that "no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items of matter Continue Reading

2 Edison school board members sign ex-con’s nominating petition

EDISON - An ex-con running for a township school board seat had two school board officials sign his petition to get on the ballot.In order to receive a spot on this year's ballot for the school board election, Nilesh Dasondi, who pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to launder money through trafficking documents relating to legal resident status, had to secure 12 signatures on a nominating petition.Dasondi's petition, which was filed on July 21, had the required 12 signatures — two of which were Edison school board officials. READ: Ex-con running for Edison school board READ: Ex-con Edison school board candidate discusses opposition from boardFrank Heelan, Edison Township Board of Education president, signed the Dasondi's petition along with Ralph Errico, another member of the school board."I had a meeting with him," Dasondi said of Heelan. "We just chatted and he found that I am very useful."According to him, Heelan believed Dasondi's knowledge of computing was a valuable skill, and that the board wanted a candidate who is passionate about the community and knows about the education system. "That is the most important thing," he said.Dasondi has two children who went to Edison public schools and he has operated several information technology consulting companies. Cygate, one of his companies, was at the center of the federal probe on immigration fraud that he was later convicted of and served six months in federal prison for.Heelan, however, said he had no idea of Dasondi's past when he met with him."We sat down and he seemed like a very fine person," he said. "He was an entrepreneur, he had various businesses, and he told me about how much he was interested in education."At the end of the meeting, Dasondi asked Heelan to sign his petition, he said."I did sign it figuring it's not really saying you'd vote for the person just that he could Continue Reading

School board members react to Pledge controversy

Changing a district policy that requires students to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance could face stiff opposition from the Lafayette Parish School Board.Multiple board members said constituents have told them they want the requirement to remain. The board is expected to consider removing that part of the policy in May.“Parents are telling me that the requirement should stay,” said board member Mary Morrison. “I feel it should remain. It’s the right thing to do, to stand when we recite the pledge. That’s what I’ve been hearing from people. I’ve gotten some emails about it, and all of them support standing during the pledge.”The discussion comes after the Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to the district in mid-April, alleging that an Acadiana High teacher mistreated a junior at the school who Lafayette Superintendent Donald Aguillard said officials are taking the concerns seriously and will ask the board to review the policy.Board member Britt Latiolais, whose district includes Acadiana High, said he’s heard from several military veterans about the issue.“What I’ve been hearing is that if a person doesn’t want to recite the pledge, they should excuse themselves from the room,” Latiolais said. “One of the comments I’m hearing a lot is that people are talking about their rights and freedoms, when I don’t think they realize what it took to get those freedoms. A lot of people have put their lives on the line.”Latiolais admits he feels torn about the matter. He spent 15 years in the U.S. Navy Reserves, including four tours in the Middle East. That military background makes him want to vote against changing the district policy. But as a board member, Latiolais said, he doesn’t want to risk spending taxpayer dollars on legal fees should the issue wind up in court.“As an elected official, I have to look at what’s proper for the system. I Continue Reading

What is ‘clear boarding’ and could it be Louisville’s cure for blight?

Nestled at the corner of 28th and Market streets is a little white house like thousands of others in Louisville: It's empty and has been for years.Pictures of the house on Google Maps show it marred with graffiti, both artistic and curse words, and boarded up at every possible entry point.But now it stands out from the other boarded-up homes down the block. The graffiti has been painted over, and the windows and doors are covered with "clear boarding" a transparent, nearly indestructible polycarbonate plastic, not plywood."I thought they remodeled," Louis More said from his porch down the street. "It looks a whole lot better than boarded up." Related: Louisville Metro Council moves $13.4M in Mayor Fischer's budget plan More: Shut up or face lawsuit, Councilman Dan Johnson tells his accusers The clear boards could replace plywood on abandoned homes across Louisville as officials look for ways to address blight caused by vacant and abandoned properties. While clear boards are more expensive than plywood, supporters say using the plastic sheets could reduce vandalism, spruce up the block, promote the sale of properties and save taxpayers money in the long run."What's really important is you don't know the home is a vacant or abandoned property," said Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, who is spearheading the idea.It cost about $1,100 to fasten clear boarding on the Market Street home, which was owned by the city's land bank and one of the first to test the product. City officials said it would have cost roughly $300 to install traditional plywood, but they point out that the house had to be re-boarded several times.Shanklin said she was promised a $350,000 allocation in the city budget to install clear boarding on abandoned homes that could be back on the market. That would be on top of $500,000 she said was pledged to demolish the most dilapidated structures.The council's Continue Reading

What is ‘deadnaming’ and why does it matter?

What's in a name? Mesa police learned it's everything when a person is transitioning.Last year, a fatal police shooting in the city spotlighted concerns over how law enforcement and media identify transgender people.It also left police asking themselves how they could have better helped an armed person with thoughts of self harm — a situation common in the state's third-largest municipality.A distraught Kayden Clarke, who was transitioning from female to male, was killed by officers who were called to his home Feb. 4, 2016, on reports of a suicidal person.Mesa police originally identified Clarke by his legal name and gender assigned at birth, but became aware of his transition as the case unfolded through conflicting reports by family and friends.Without Clarke there to identify himself, police and media who reported on the shooting faced a predicament, and authorities defaulted to the legal name found on identification cards.There's a term often used in the LGBTQ community for referring to a transgender person by the name they were given at birth and no longer use: deadnaming. It is often paired with misgendering, which refers to the use of an inappropriate pronoun of a person's gender identity.When combined, it's an offensive double whammy."When people use deadnames, it's degradation of life and erases us," said Monica Jones, a social worker and local activist who organized a candlelight vigil for Clarke after the shooting. She didn't know Clarke personally but said she felt compelled to rally support after his death."The bond of being trans and living here makes us connected," Jones said. "It's sad because you think about what's going to happen if you die or pass away. How is your legacy going to be reported in the news? It's all about our legacy and the things we want to leave behind."Community members swiftly contacted The Republic to alert reporters of Clarke's identity when Mesa Continue Reading

Board member: Iowa more concerned about ‘beer sales’ than kids

State Board of Education members Thursday declined to add their voice to the school start-date furor, but not before some spirited debate.In December, when local school officials learned the Iowa Department of Education would no longer automatically grant waivers to start classes earlier than state law prescribes, "there was a sudden rug jerked out from every district in the state of Iowa, because we are more concerned about the State Fair, beer sales and hotel-motel revenue in this state than we are about all the kids that are going to school in" Iowa, said Diane Crookham-Johnson, a board member from Oskaloosa.The board's discussion on the school-start dates came after Gov. Terry Branstad addressed members about several education-related issues, including the school calendar. Branstad told the board he was willing to consider a compromise on when districts start classes, but didn't provide specifics.In December, at Branstad's urging, state education Director Brad Buck informed school leaders that the department would no longer automatically grant waivers to districts that wanted to start classes before the week of Sept. 1. Buck wrote educators that earlier start dates would only be considered if a district demonstrated that starting later would have a "significant negative educational impact."Guidelines for the waivers were released this week.Buck's letter set off a flurry of criticism over the state dictating when classes should begin, an issue that has been debated since 1985, when the lawmakers approved the state's current school start-date law. In recent years, the issue has gained attention as districts began classes in August.The education department's crackdown on waivers prompted Iowa lawmakers to introduce bills that would allow local school officials more flexibility in setting calendars.Crookham-Johnson asked that the department continue to automatically grant waivers for a year until the issue can be more fully discussed.Mike May, a board member from Continue Reading

Meg Whitman takes over as CEO of Hewlett-Packard over ousted board member Leo Apotheker

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hewlett-Packard Co.'s decision to fire CEO Leo Apotheker after just 11 months and replace him with former eBay chief Meg Whitman is another dizzying turn of the executive merry-go-round at a company whose leadership issues are tearing it apart. Swapping Apotheker, who has now been ousted from two high-profile CEO jobs in two years, with Whitman, a billionaire who is best known for the decade she spent building eBay and her run for California governor, is a decision designed to stem investor fury over a series of questionable strategy moves. Whitman's star-power could be an asset for a company that struggled to gain credibility under Apotheker, who was previously little-known outside of the business software world. HP is no stranger to celebrity CEOs. But Carly Fiorina's run as leading lady, from 1999 to 2005, ended in shambles. Despite Whitman's success at eBay, she is untested when it comes to running a sprawling company such as HP. "She built up a one-trick pony, an online auction site, and she oversaw the growth of the company, but we are talking about a situation where someone needs to come in who has a technological background, an engineering and scientific background," said Steve Diamond, an associate professor at Santa Clara University School of Law. "And that is way outside of her skill set." Diamond said the decision to change CEOs so soon points to continued disarray on HP's board, long a target of critics for the chaos it's caused at one of Silicon Valley's oldest and largest companies. Infighting and ego-driven drama has long plagued the board, from revelations in 2006 that HP had spied on directors and journalists to ferret out the source of leaks, to last year's dismissal of CEO Mark Hurd in an ethics scandal. "There's no question the board is off the rails — they need a smaller, tighter board that's committed to the idea of what the company does," Diamond said. "But they have a lot of people on the board Continue Reading

Board member questions NAFC diversity efforts

New Albany-Floyd County Schools Superintendent Bruce Hibbard came under scrutiny during a discussion Thursday night about a lack of diversity among principals, assistant principals and central office leadership in the district – which employs only one minority administrator.“This board made it one of our board goals, and it’s a goal that we gave Dr. Hibbard specifically, to increase the diversity in our administration,” said Board Member Lee Ann Wiseheart during the special meeting. “I’m extremely disappointed that we’ve done the same thing that we’ve always done, and we get the same results.”At a meeting earlier this month, several school board members urged administrators to consider minority candidates for an assistant principal position at New Albany High, where about 30 percent of students are students of color and all administrators are white.In addition to initiating discussions in meetings, Wiseheart has taken to Twitter to express disappointment in the schools district’s minority recruiting efforts.During Thursday’s meeting, Hibbard defended the district’s efforts to recruit minority administrators, correcting Wiseheart’s understanding of the district’s goals: the goal is to increase diversity among all staff, he said, not just administration.“Last year, we had 21 teachers who were minorities,” he said. “This year, we have 22 thus far. We have a few teachers still to hire, so that could increase."Hibbard also said that increasing staff diversity is a problem school districts across the country are facing. Nationally, 82 percent of public school teachers identify as white, even though the majority of students in public schools are students of color, according to a recent report by The U.S. Department of Education, and those numbers haven’t changed much in the past 15 years.Wiseheart acknowledged Hibbard’s point but said she Continue Reading

Toms River school board members slam secrecy over whistleblower hunt

TOMS RIVER - A hunt to find anonymous whistleblowers in the regional school district is out of control and has exceeded the parameters of an investigation agreed to by the Board of Education, said one of its members Tuesday.Board member Robert Onofrietti Jr. fired off an email to his board colleagues Oct. 3 after he read an Asbury Park Press article about how district taxpayers had been billed $16,442 over two months for two internal investigations in the district. The first probe was into sexual harassment allegations against Superintendent of Schools David M. Healy and the second probe was into how those allegations became public."I'm not going to say too much in this email but needless to say I am tired of having to learn more about the board from the Asbury Park Press than from inside the board itself," Onofrietti wrote in the email.He added that he wanted an executive session meeting before the next board meeting to review the total amount of money being spent on the investigations.In an interview Tuesday, Onofrietti said most of the school board was being kept out of the loop on the details of the district's investigations and that he could no longer stay silent on the matter any longer. "I've been ashamed to be on the board," he said. "It's taken away from what this job is supposed to be, but there are people playing games. ... We are not in this together, that is honestly the crux of the problem. There are people who have their own agenda and unfortunately, we're all guilty by association." More: Toms River Regional whistleblower hunt: $16K and growing More: Toms River schools hire private eye to hunt for leakers More: Exclusive: Toms River Regional board met in secret to approve 'leaker' hunt Board member Dan Leonard also said Tuesday that he has observed a pattern of secrecy in the district since he assumed office in January."Since July, I have not Continue Reading

Nelson Mandela charity board member Jeremy Ratcliffe quits over ‘Blood Diamonds’ uproar

Jeremy Ratcliffe, who admitted receiving uncut diamonds from model Naomi Campbell and waiting 13 years before handing them to the police, quit his position at a charity started by former South African President Nelson Mandela.Ratcliffe resigned as a board member for the charity's U.S. affiliate with immediate effect, and won't make himself available for re-election as a trustee at its annual general meeting on Aug. 27, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund said in an e-mailed statement today. He is the former chief executive officer of the fund."Mr. Ratcliffe regrets his omission to inform the chairperson, CEO and the rest of the board of trustees of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund of his receipt of the uncut diamonds until now," the fund said. "Mr. Ratcliffe has stated that he acted in what he sincerely believed to be in the best interest of the NMCF and its founder and realizes that he has left himself open to possible prosecution."On Aug. 5, Campbell told the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor that two strangers handed her some "dirty looking stones" after a 1997 dinner at Mandela's home and that she gave them to Ratcliffe.Taylor has pleaded innocent to 11 counts including enlisting child soldiers, murder and sexual slavery during the 1991-2002 civil war in Sierra Leone, which claimed as many as 250,000 lives. He also denied providing weapons to fighters in the Revolutionary United Front, a Sierra Leone rebel movement, in exchange for diamonds. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading