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New vote yields same result in Atlantic City school board leadership

A new vote for the presidency of the Atlantic City Board of Education resulted in Shay Steele remaining the board’s leader Thursday night.
The vote was originally a tie when it was made at the Jan. 11 reorganization meeting with Steele and former President John Devlin splitting the vote of the 10-member board.
But because board solicitor Tracy Riley did not allow a board member’s vote to be counted, Steele won 5-4.
Riley had told the board secretary not to count Farook Hossain’s vote due to questions about his residency. But an administrative law judge reinstated Hossain’s vote last week while his case goes through the proper channels.
Because the judge’s decision was retroactive for all of the meetings where Hossain’s vote was denied, the tie was back.
Executive Atlantic County Superintendent Robert Bumpas was then called on to break that tie, deciding instead to have the board vote again, with Hossain’s vote counting.
The difference this time was the Ventnor representative. At the reorganization meeting, Ventnor’s Joseph McDevitt voted for Devlin. McDevitt died 10 days later.
His replacement on the board, Michael Advena, did not attend Thursday’s special meeting, giving Steele the majority.
After the vote, a man was heard laughing on the Zoom call, although it was not clear who that was.
“Someone has a hot mic, but I heard what he had to say,” said board member Al Herbert, who voted for Devlin. “I’m all ears if you have something else to say.”
No one spoke up.

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