By Sherris Moreira-Byers
After five interviews that were each about 15 minutes long, three Mercer County judges decided a Lackawannock Township man should fill the West Middlesex School Board vacancy.
Glen W. Allen, Jr., of Wozniak Road, was selected by the three judges to take the place of Gary Koncar, who resigned Sept. 23 citing job conflicts, personal attacks by current and former board members and negativity on the school board as the reasons for his resignation.
Messages left with Allen were not returned Friday evening.
School board President Tom Hubert said Friday he was "happy the process is over so we can go back to the business of the school."
Hubert, who had originally voted for candidate Jonathan Fister when the board unsuccessfully tried to fill the vacant slot in October, said that Fister "was the best choice in front of me at the time because of his experience, but I respect the judges' decision. (Allen) seems like a very good appointment. He has school-age children and that's always a plus."
Allen was not one of the names put before the school board during the Oct. 14 meeting, but apparently he had sent his name in to the county judges once school directors passed their director-making decision to court.
J. Wayne Gill, of Romaine Road, who was interviewed by the judges Friday afternoon, said he was impressed with the process.
"I felt that the questions very good. They were centered around trying not to pick someone with an agenda, it seemed to me. They seemed to do a very good job with no bias."
A couple of questions he was asked that he found the most interesting were when he was asked who he would appoint for the position other than himself, and whom wouldn't he appoint.
"I think that told a lot about each one of us," Gill said.
He was surprised about the choice of Allen, because he didn't know he was in the running, but he also called Allen a "safe bet for the judges since he wasn't one of the original five that applied."
"The school board seems split and neither side wanted to budge," Gill said. "I think (the judges') goal was to try to keep things as even as they could. I think some of the board members seem to have forgotten why they should be on the school board. It should be about the kids."
The candidates interviewed, besides Gill and Allen, were Fister, the Rev. Joseph Marzano and Gerald Porter. During the school director interviews in October, Barbara L. Sochor was also one of the candidates, though Allen was not.
Director Arlene Repko said she was also pleased with the judges' decision. "I'm pleased they were able to come up with a quick decision."
She voted for Rev. Marzano, but thinks Allen "will work out well." Despite Fister's experience, she thought that his reappointement would have brought more negativity to the board. "I just feel when he was on the board, there was a lot of negativism, and I think we'd be in for that again if he had been appointed."
Director Walter "Butch" Gelesky, who supported Fister during the October meeting, said that "Glenn will be all right. I trust the judges evidently had reasons for their choices."
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