School board takes heat for new member's resignation

ELIZABETHTOWN - The Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School Board of Education is starting the year one member short.

Mark Hummel, an Elizabethtown resident elected in May to one of two open board seats, announced the resignation of his post before even getting a chance to swear in.

A crowd of more than 30 residents packed the conference room as the school board held its reorganizational meeting July 14, many questioning why Hummel had apparently been forced to give up the position for which he was elected.

Hummel said he made his decision after being informed his membership on the board would bar him from providing services to ELCS students as a physical therapist with Adirondack Physical Therapy.

What angered many supporters of Hummel, however, was how he was not informed until recently that his employment would raise any issues.

Hummel said that when he submitted his application for the position in March, he asked both members of the community and school administrators to notify him if they discerned any conflicts of interest. He said no one gave him any feedback on the issue until the end of June, well after he had been elected to the post.

The board's newest member, Brett Siccola, echoed the sentiment of many in the audience.

"As a taxpayer and as a voter, I'm infuriated. I don't feel Mark was treated fairly," said Siccola. "I would like Mark to be on this board. I would like his resignation to be rescinded."

Superintendent Gail Else explained that because Hummel is the employee of an agency with which the school contracts, it would create a conflict of interest that would, at the very least, preclude him from providing physical therapy services to students.

Also, the fact that the contract with Adirondack Physical therapy expires just before the new school year would mean the school could no longer contract with the agency if Hummel were on the board, Else said.

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