In a recently issued public advisory opinion involving a sending-receiving relationship, A01-15, the School Ethics Commission advised that board members would not violate the School Ethics Act if the board of education were to conduct employment interviews for positions in addition to the superintendent and/or the school business administrator. Each local board of education may determine by its own policy whether or not to establish board committees to conduct such interviews.

The School Ethics Commission advised that the sending delegate to the receiving board could not be a member of such committees for positions other than for the high school. The commission further cautioned that membership of such committees should be kept small so as not to meet or exceed the minimum number of board members to meet a quorum, which would implicate the Open Public Meetings Act.

NJSBA strongly advises boards of education to discuss this advisory opinion with their superintendent and board attorney. In discussing the matter, boards should consider:

  • Advisory Opinion A15-10 in which the School Ethics Commission found that participation in exit interviews was inconsistent with the role of a board member.
  • N.J.S.A.18A:12-24.1 (c) of the Code of Ethics for School Board Members, which advises that a board member is “not to administer the schools, but together with my fellow board members, to see that they are well run.”
  • N.J.S.A. 18A:27-4.1, which states that the board of education may appoint, transfer or remove an employee only with the recommendation of the chief school administrator.

NJSBA believes that the practice of boards interviewing employment candidates for positions other than higher-level management positions, is contrary to board governance best practices.