Willingboro School Board Appoints New President

Posted: April 11, 1989

A "pro-education" faction took the presidency - and effective control - of the factionalized Willingboro school board last night.

The board appointed Gerald Whittle as president and Margaret Davis as vice president; both are ardent administration supporters.

Their gain meant a loss for those board members who have traditionally criticized the administration, including former board President Elmer Corda. The April 4 election shifted the makeup of the board more firmly from administration critics to administration supporters.

Appointment of the board's lawyers generated the most debate at last night's reorganization meeting, as longstanding administration opponents fought in vain to safeguard their choices for board solicitor, negotiator and special counsel. The board retained solicitor Paul Serrell and special counsel Robert Martinez and tabled the vote on the negotiator.

Newly elected Wayne Gibbons surprised colleagues with his take-charge attitude in his first meeting and his recommendations for sweeping reform. He nominated a new board negotiator and urged changes in the board's bank, saying the board should do business with people in Willingboro.

Martinez was appointed special counsel last month to conduct an investigation into an incident in which a school building being demolished collapsed, killing a district employee. Liability suits are expected, and the county prosecutor notified the board yesterday of his intent to subpoena board documents in his office's review of the accident.

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