Ballot Positioning Factor in BOE Outcome, Some Say

Frank Calabria, James Carifi and Joanne Mancuso—Nos. 1, 2 and 3 on the ballot—earn school board seats while Vice President Frank Neglia ousted.

One, two, three.

That's the explanation many are giving for the result of Tuesday's Board of Education election, which handed victory to Parsippany Police Capt. James Carifi, BOE President Frank Calabria and former school board member Joanne Mancuso.

The numbers are the order in which the three appeared on the ballot.

Calabria said it was clear to him that the positioning of the candidates played a part in the balloting. He said he felt uncomfortable celebrating his win when his ticketmates, BOE Vice President Frank Neglia and challenger Alison Cogan, had a different result. 

Carifi's ticketmate, former Passaic police officer Anthony DeIntinis also went down in defeat.

Cogan, Neglia and DeIntinis were positioned at the bottom of the BOE ballot.

"It was all about ballot position for this particular BOE election," DeIntinis speculated. "Voters, as it appears, went 1, 2, 3 when voting, but it is what it is. My very best to my running mate James Carifi. He will bring accountability along with excitement to a very needed [school board]."

He sent his thanks to all who supported him and Carifi.

"I will continue to attend BOE meetings and enjoy my retirement and family," DeIntinis said. 

Calabria congratulated his fellow winners, noting that he is familiar with Joanne Mancuso, who did not actively campaign for the seat.

"I served on the board with her," Calabria said. "She was a very good board member."

Board member and former President Anthony Mancuso, who is not related to Joanne, also attributed what he called a surprising result to ballot position.

"I feel bad for Frank Neglia," he said. "I want to thank him for the time and effort he's put into the board. I want to thank Alison Cogan for her efforts to be part of the board and to want to work for the students of Parsippany.

"At the same time, I'd like to congratulate Joanne Mancuso and James Carifi and welcome them. I look forward to working with them for the best interests of the students of Parsippany."

Councilman James Vigilante, soon to step down from the Parsippany Township Council, said he knows Joanne Mancuso well.

"I congratulate Joanne," he said. "She will be an independent, mindful thinker. She's going to vote for what's best for the kids. She did a good job before on the board and I think she'll do a good job again."

And the fact that Mancuso has not been seen or heard since filing to run turns out to have been planned.

"My campaign was no campaign," she said, pointing out she was following a strategy once employed by late BOE member Alan Gordon. "If people wanted to vote for me, they would vote for me."

Mancuso said after taking a trip to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary, she plans to get up to speed on board issues and, after her January swearing-in, to get back to school business.

Nancy November 07, 2012 at 11:33 PM
All the candidates placed in the same position as they were on the ballot. Strumolo got his people in so now he could try to control the Board of Education. Talk about crooked politics. The money spent on Parsippany's BOE elections is ridiculous. It's an UNPAID volunteer position. That makes us all wonder why they wanted these positions so bad. Do they have the children as their first priority? I think not.
Lauren November 08, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Whatever people. More importantly is there school tomorrow and what is with the lack of communication for tonight?
Citizen Jane November 08, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Congrats to the elected, as a concerned citizen I would ask that you consider two things among your priorities. First, make a choice to remove the grandfather clause for the 10 or 11 out of district students. What reason is there for the taxpayers to cover this roughly $100,000 extra in cost of attendance? If their families wish to pay, then allow it, otherwise please change this decision. We have plenty of other things that money can be used for. Second, figure out why PHS is performing so much poorly that PHHS and fix it! It is not fair to the students, will lower our property values, and is divisive for the community. Thank you in advance for your service and consideration.
David November 08, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Citizen Jane May I offer a simple solution to your second issue? Remove the inefficient, pompous and inexperienced administrators. They are political appointees with not leadership skills of any sort. On the contrary. They are the laughing stock of our school community. Change is good and needed in this case. Good luck to the newly elected members. May your leadership and vision and wisdom bring much needed support to our students.
Monica Sclafani November 08, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Per the district website, all schools are open tomorrow with a 2 hour delayed opening.
steve revette November 08, 2012 at 02:51 AM
This is why it wasn't a good idea for the election to be moved in the first place because of stuff like this. The board made the decision to change it. Also Nancy you never know what bright ideas somebody might bring to the table so to say they're not thinking about the kids when they haven't even stepped into a seat yet isn't fair. I'm not going to lie I thought that Joanne Mancuso was related to Anthony so that effected my voting but we can't convict these new board members of wrong doing until they've taken their actual oath.
Hank Heller November 08, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Nancy, When your husband was on the BOE and HIS group controlled the BOE ruthlessly, callously and unkindly (still to this day, in fact) we never heard you complain about it's "crooked politics". When Andy was Anthony Mancuso's mouthpiece on the BOE that was ok. Of course, it cost him re-election but that was obviously a small price to pay for helping "his" team to keep control. Why did you and your husband want that "unpaid" volunteer position so badly? Did he or you have some special interest to pursue? You go after Strumolo, Crawford and all who are not in the Calabria, Mancuso, Neglia, Orme and Othwein cabal, just because your group insists on controlling the Parsippany BOE. The people of Parsippany know how you people work. Allison Cogan was shunted aside probably because of her association with Calabria and Neglia on the ballot. If there is ever a new majority in Parsippany, it will be because the voters decided that your group has abused our education system long enough. For myself, I would be eager to see new leadership on this BOE. We don't need to be spending our taxpayer money on political vendettas like the hiring of Judge Stein, the early signing of a new contract with LeRoy Seitz, the dishonest blaming of fellow Board Members for ethical lapses, i.e., the Crawford child/Rutgers football game ticket (for which I do not ever remember reading an apology). I could go on and on with instances of unfair BOE majority incidents, but why bother?
gary martin November 08, 2012 at 01:13 PM
Thank you steve, if the public remembers I took a big stand not to change the voting date. Was I right or wrong? The public told me that night, I was wrong. About the kids, I ALWAYS try to think of the parents first because they put their trust in me, when they vote. When I was in the U.S. Navy, I learned that its God, Country and the people. I live by this everyday and it never let me down. As the World War Two vets. die off I see that my way of life is coming to an end. Its new times and I know that I can not change . I hope everyday that the kids have a great future because I love this country. Mr. Revette thank you again for your commit of the election date because now I feel I did not make a very big mistake.
Sick of the trolls November 08, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Hank Heller, you are worse than any pundit on television. Your comments and remarks are almost always bellicose, accusatory, angry and sometimes vindictive, without ever actually contributing to the conversation. You repeatedly accuse people of shilling for one side, while in the same post doing the same thing. Maybe you should change your screen name to Mr. Kettle.
steve revette November 08, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Gary I agreed with you on that night and still agree with you today. A majority of Parsippany agrees with you on that too. You're doing an excellent job as a board member.
steve revette November 08, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Hank Heller is right. Mr. Choffo's accusations against Mr. Crawford were unfair and unwarranted. Not only that who accuses a KID of taking a bribe? If anything that's very unethical right there.Also do you realize the ridiculous things the board has done. I think there's something wrong when the entire board is not being given but only some members get ridiculous information.
Kevin Guhl November 08, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I'm sure many Parsippany voters paid attention to the BOE election and made an educated choice. But for many other voters, I'd wager that the BOE election got lost in the noise of the general election and they just picked the first three on the ballot. That seems most likely, as the winners were so disparate. On the positive side, these three candidates should bring a nice mix of perspectives to the board.
Kevin Guhl November 08, 2012 at 02:44 PM
It's possible that the position of the names on the ballot didn't make a difference. But it certainly seems likely. My guess is that many Parsippany residents don't pay as close attention to the school board as we would like.
Hank Heller November 08, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Dear "Sick" Sorry we are in disagreement. If you look at all of my posts you will see that I am usually responding to someone who I believe to be unfair or dishonest in their comments. Additionally, I sign my name to all of my comments and generally refrain from responding back to those who don't. I am not a fan of the current majority on the Parsippany BOE. That is no secret. Nancy IS a fan of the current majority. That is her prerogative. I only respond when I am concerned that the people of Parsippany who are not as well informed as they might be could be led astray by partisan accusations. I am partisan too...for change and openness. Based upon the recent election, the people of Parsippany seem to have recognized that the current BOE needs new leadership. Dr. Calabria remained, but Frank Neglia, Andy Choffo (last year) and Debbie Orme are now gone. Perhaps all the current members will get together and work toward openness and good business decisions on behalf of the students and the taxpayers. I hope so. If not, look for more change next year and for years to come, I believe. The people of Parsippany are no longer asleep at the switch thanks to Parsippany Patch and Parsippany Life.
Nancy November 08, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Yes absolutely Andy has two children and they are his "special interest". We moved here years ago because of the education. He wanted to volunteer his time so that the schools could become even more successful. You have a big mouth but only he same words come out. You have always sided with the Strumolo party and can't see anything else. I feel sad ffor people so close minded like you. I am very much a conservative and so is Andy. No one ever remembers the good things you do. You are so willing to drag his name into every future arguement about the board. Why don't you do something more useful with your time. I along with many other people around here have been without power for 11 days. Have a good day.
Angelina November 08, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Please dont insult Parsippany residents by saying the ballot was confusing. It's not rocket science. Clearly people didnt like the the members of the BOE. so if some only voted for the top 3 not knowing anything about anyone else, they must have really been unhappy!!However, people do not take elections lightly, so you shouldnt assume that people just went down the line just because you people did not get your way. The BOE situation was embarrassing w/the Seitz contract. Neglia didn't get elected because of his part in that. this is a good change for the town. I didnt even vote for 3 people. i voted for the 2 i wanted and the rest i left up to everyone else. So don't insult us by saying we are confused a ballot. We are not idiots.
steve revette November 08, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Actually Nancy I have not always sided with the Strumolo Party. I agreed and commended the board on the promotion of Dr. Gigante and think she will make an EXCELLENT superintendent for years to come. And while good may have come out of it the the people of Parsippany will remember that whole fiasco for years to come.
Hank Heller November 08, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Nancy Mr. Strumolo has one child in the Parsippany schools and you have two. Does that make Strumolo's interest less honorable than yours/Andy's? I actually do not only side with "the Strumolo party". What I do side with is NOT the current majority. My reason is that I have seen years of unfair and dishonest practices from this majority group which has our BOE in it's claws. I have not seen much openness not integrity in the currents majority's positions over the years that I have attended meetings. The Seitz contract was a clear case of Board majority malfeasance which has cost the taxpayers of Parsippany lots of education time and money, much confusion and loss of taxpayer respect. The opaque handling of the sports fields effort was more of this behavior. The inaction of the BOE leadership to provide requested back-up documents for transportation bills for many, many months so that the Transportation Committee could sign off on the payments is yet more of the same. How long would you like me to go on? I am sorry you feel strongly about my identifying Andy's involvement in the BOE actions. Why are you so upset when I am only responding to your unkind and unfair pummeling of Crawford (in the past) and Strumolo today. You feel your pain, but have no empathy for others who may feel that they are doing the right thing. That is amazing to me. I am sorry you are without power. I wish you no harm. I would only ask for fairness to others.
Harland November 08, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Dr Calabria - so basically you're saying that the only reason you got re-elected is because your name appeared in one of the first three positions on the ballot? Sounds like a reasonable explanation to me.
Scott Dean November 08, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Hate to get snickery but maybe we collect all of the signs from elections and light them up for a Friday night game next year.Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Scott Dean November 08, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Also regarding the number conspieracy? Figure out this word problem If Dr.Calabris's theory is correct why did Mr Carifi have 1,000 more votes then # 2 as well as close to 2500 more votes than #3 on the ballot And how much wood can a wood chuck wood ?
Bob Crawford November 08, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Scott Isn't it how much wood can a wood chuck chuck? (If, of course, a wood chuck could chuck wood - which is a whole another Patch discussion for a later time)
Nancy November 08, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Hank you have your opinion and I have mine. We will never agree when it comes to the BOE. Keep blaming the old Board members not the ones that have been there since last years election. You sound like an Obama supporter. Since he has been on the board, what budgets did Mike Strumolo vote for? Is he tryimg to help get the teachers contract settled after over 2 years? How about the fields? Why does it seem that he is never really prepared for the meetings? Doesn't he spend hours in committee meetings and at home reading all the material? When you take a position like being a BOE member you do answer to the people. Andy being voted off was one answer. Eventually Strumolo and his friends will take that same path not becasue they tried their very best but because of their failures. It's going to be a long four years and all of America is going to be paying for the 50% that took the left turn all the way to the ballot box. Parsippany's BOE problems are the least of your worries. Have a good night. Stay warm.
Hank Heller November 08, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Nancy I suspect you are right about of our opinions. I blame most of the old BOE members and quite a few of the current ones for their bad decisions and hidden agendas in trying to get done what THEY want, instead of what is good for the students and the community. If they were interested in finding good ways out of it's challenges, the majority members would have operated in openness and decency. Instead, they withheld information, made sure that only the "chosen" ones knew what was going on and were and are disrespectful to those who do not knuckle under to them. I believe that Mr. Strumolo has brought lots of good thinking to this BOE, regardless of the fact that you and others do your best to disparage him. Just as you and the "gang" have worked hard to make Bob Crawford look like a bad guy. I find both to be two of the best people we have had serving Parsippany. Since the BOE leadership only allows the "in crowd" to participate in meaningful ways on the important committees, I do not know what Strumolo has done to resolve the teachers contract for the past 2 years. I'll bet he was not allowed on that committee. And the "fields"? You have got to be kidding! Were you in favor of giving away the control of the fields in perpetuity? And having Mancuso and Neglia meeting in secret with other groups while keeping the rest of the BOE in the dark. That's the way your majority works here. I'm proud to say I voted. I wish you a good and comfortable night too.
John M November 08, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Congratulations to all the new BOE members. Let's hope we now have a balanced group that is not clicky and feel like they will do what they want regardless of what the people of Parsippany want. Now lets get moving with the improvement of the Parsippany school system and helping the children of this town. I want to apologize to Ms Mancuso, I thought she was related to Anthony Mancuso too. At least now I feel better.
Mikey November 08, 2012 at 10:51 PM
No, the people spoke, now try something new, LISTEN! It would be a first for the out going board. Take your heads out of you know where and move on.
Mike November 09, 2012 at 03:01 AM
so when is the captain gonna get in the bentley and pick up the signs. Voting over three days almost and most are still out there.
Concerned Citizen November 09, 2012 at 03:34 AM
I for one believe that we shouldn't have "career BOE members." Discuss amongst yourselves.
gary martin November 09, 2012 at 01:12 PM
I thank you very much for the nice words. As, I read the patch everyday, I wish more people will think of the good. This town of ours is one of the largest and best. We have so much. I would love very much for one week that the people would only write good articles and comments about everything in the town and world. This would not take very much thinking. Anyone that reads this small comment do not forget to thank a VET. today. Always Navy beat Army.
Brian Stanton November 09, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Ok the election is over, its time to move on and get to work. Congratulations to James Carifi, Frank Calabria, and Joanne Mancuso on your victories. Also congratulations to Jonathan Nelson on your victory. Now lets move forward, stop pointing fingers and do what's right for the people of Parsippany. Council President Brian Stanton


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