Determination of Solicitor for Colonial School Board Set for January 18th Meeting

Selecting one of five candidates for solicitor is on the agenda for the Democratic Party controlled Colonial School Board’s meeting on Thursday, January 18th at 7:00 p.m. The potential solicitors responded to a RFP issued by the school board on December 5th.

The selection of a solicitor has been controversial as three members of the school board (Susan Moore, Cathy Peduzzi and Mel Brodsky) have claimed that they were excluded from discussions that allegedly occurred outside of meetings. These members were also uncomfortable with a meeting that was to include the returning members (the three listed above and Feliz Raimondo and Leslie Finegold) and four newly elected members (Jennifer Dow, Eunice Franklin-Becker, Adam Schupack and Rosemary Northcutt) (who had not yet been sworn in) where the position of solicitor was to be discussed. The members who were not returning, but were still the active serving members of the board, were not invited. This meeting never happened.

Question? How would they know who to interview, if they hadn’t issued the RFP and no one had responded yet?

What really got the public engaged in this issue was when Eunice Franklin-Becker, who had been sworn in for like 10 minutes, made a motion to amend the agenda of the reorganization meeting, and then a made a second motion to issue the RFP. When doing this, she obviously was reading something that was prepared. She did not respond to our questions about whether she prepared the motions herself or who provided them to her.

The vote to select a solicitor was initially scheduled for a special meeting (because its a pressing issue) that was cancelled due to the weather. This cancellation resulted in it being pushed to the regularly scheduled meeting on January 18th.

For those interested in this issue there will be two opportunities for you to address your concerns or support for the actions of the school board. The agenda for the January 18th meeting (which you can view here) offers “Public Comments on the Agenda” under VII and  “Questions and Comments from the Floor” under XV.

The candidates for solicitor are:

  • Fox Rothschild, LLP
  • Rudolph Clarke, LLC
  • Sean Kilkenny with Dischell Bartle Dooley, P.C.
  • Sweet, Stevens, Katz and Williams, LLP
  • Wisler Pearlstein, LLP.

Things to watch:

How embarrassing is it that one of the candidates is mixed up in this (see No. 2)? He is also the elected Sheriff for Montgomery County and the solicitor for several municipalities, including Whitemarsh.

Michael Clarke of Clarke & Rudolph gave the campaign of the four new members a contribution of $2,500.

Fox Rothschild is the current solicitor and is the solicitor at several other school districts in the county (more than any other firm).