Chester Twp. Reps Battle for Regional Board Presidency

Newcomer Gary Lakritz selected to lead school board; Washington Township's Lisa Woodring named vice president at annual reorganization meeting.

Gary Lakritz, center, was selected as the West Morris Regional Board of Education president on Jan. 6. Lisa Woodring, right, was selected as the board's vice president.
Gary Lakritz, center, was selected as the West Morris Regional Board of Education president on Jan. 6. Lisa Woodring, right, was selected as the board's vice president.

Just minutes after Gary Lakritz officially took his post as a West Morris Regional Board of Education member Monday night, he was selected by five of his colleagues to be named the body’s president.

At the board’s annual reorganization meeting the nine-member group needed to fill its president and vice president slots after swearing in four members. Among them were newcomers Lakritz, of Chester Township, who replaces James Johnston, and Brian Cavanaugh, of Mendham Borough, who replaces Jacke Schram.

Lisa Woodring and Tom Richar were also sworn after being re-elected in unopposed election campaigns in 2013.

Washington Township representative and former vice president Joe Galayda nominated Lakritz, and was seconded by Woodring, but not before Mendham Township’s James Button nominated the other Chester Township representative – Marcia Asdal.

Cavanaugh seconded Button’s motion and the board was open to questioning both candidates.

Asdal took the opportunity to ask Lakritz how he would improve communication between the region’s K-8 districts and the regional district, as he ran on that premise during his campaign.

Lakritz, who served on the Chester School District Board of Education for nine years before being elected to his current post, referenced his time there and said as a member of that board he and other members would meet with members from the region’s other districts. As president of the regional board, he would like to do the same on a monthly basis.

Asdal, questioning Lakritz’s desire to become the board’s leader despite just being sworn in, asked why he would want the post.

“I guess I’m just following in line with Chester Township representatives on this board,” Lakritz retorted, referencing Asdal’s failed bid for the board presidency at the same meeting she was sworn in more than two years ago.

“I have more overall board experience than anyone here,” Lakritz continued. “I’m the only one here who has served as president as well.”

Lakritz lost to Asdal in an election for the Chester Township seat on the board in 2011 after Sue Guillmette did not seek re-election.

Galayda then gave Asdal the only question she received, asking how, as president, she would get the board to work better and more cohesively.

“I want more discussion,” Asdal said. “Under my leadership I think this would be a more engaged board. I really don’t see (our disagreements) as a big issue.”

Upon voting, Asdal, Button, and Cavanaugh supported the female candidate. Lakritz, Woodring, Don Storms of Chester, Galayda, Tom Richar and John Meyer of Washington Township all voted for the newcomer.

Once Lakritz was in place, Richar nominated Lisa Woodring as the board’s vice president. None were opposed, and the board voted in favor 8-0 with Storms abstaining. 

Just as in 2013 when James Johnston and Joe Galayda served as president and vice president, respectively, the board is now led by Chester Township and Washington Township representatives. Prior to that, Washington Township's Cristen Forrester served as president while Johnston served as vice president.

BerniesBarStool January 23, 2014 at 12:58 PM
Anyone? Anyone ? on this solar panel crap at the schools? the look like crap....is there any wrong doing here?
RepubBaby January 23, 2014 at 03:27 PM
I would love to know if Mr. Lakritz benefitted personally or otherwise from the solar panel project. Start be asking Mr. Lakritz and Kerri Wright, then, OPRA all committee and Board meeting minutes where this was discussed. I also want to know if MR. Lakritz used his position on the school board to influence where those solar panels were placed - there were options other than to put them in front of the school taking up open space and spoiling the view from the school and route 24 but to do so may have impacted his property and affected resale value. All questions which should be answered.
Domino January 24, 2014 at 03:54 PM
Apparently Charlene Arrington has a lot of time on her hands over at the Rockaway Sewer Authority. I guess there isn't enough crap to stir up over there. so she feels compelled to make up more crap and spread it around the Chesters. Gary Lakritz has been on the board for what, about 10 minutes, and this is how they react? Is Marcia so bitter about losing the BOE presidency that she has to start smearing everyone? Quite an ugly witches coven developing in the Chesters.
BerniesBarStool March 03, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Lakritz is a self important, posturing know it all is how he comes off to me. I personally have nothing against the guy,I just do not care for his self importance and his condescending way( like many in this area ) and if it were to come out that he had done something wrong...I would laugh to myself....that is all


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