resigns
Franklin Turner

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

Board of Education Member Franklin Turner, whose residency was the subject of a complaint filed with the state, has resigned from the Montclair Board of Education effective Friday, Sept. 7.

Mayor Robert Jackson has appointed Priscilla Church as Turner’s replacement.

“Dr. Turner has advised Mayor Jackson and me that he is purchasing a home in another town and stepping down from the Montclair Board of Education,” BOE President Laura Hertzog said Tuesday evening.

Turner was appointed to the board in 2016. He served as the board’s vice president before ceding that position to current Vice President Joe Kavesh in the spring.

Turner’s eligibility to serve on the BOE was questioned this year after a resident filed a complaint with the state alleging that Turner was ineligible to serve contending he did not live in town.

In May, resident David Herron filed a complaint with the state Department of Education alleging that Turner did not meet the residency requirements for a BOE member and was therefore ineligible to serve and vote on the board.

Under New Jersey state law, a BOE member must be a citizen and resident of the district, and must have been for at least one year immediately preceding his or her appointment or election. BOE members must also be registered to vote, and not be disqualified as a voter.

Turner denied the allegations.

With the complaint Herron submitted several documents, including voter registry and home sale documents. In those documents, Turner listed his family’s former address on Upper Mountain Avenue as his legal address when he was first appointed to the board in 2016. However, Herron’s complaint alleged that Turner did not actually reside at the Upper Mountain Avenue address, nor did Turner maintain a permanent Montclair address.

According to an Essex County deed, Turner sold his Upper Mountain Avenue property in September 2017. He is not listed as an owner for any other property in Montclair.

The Upper Mountain Avenue address was still listed as Turner’s address in the Montclair voter registry as of October 2017.

Herron also submitted a New Jersey Seller’s Residency Certification form dated September 2017 in which Turner listed a Watchung Plaza address of a UPS mail and post office box service store as his new address.

In June, Turner’s most recent address registered with the BOE was a Myrtle Avenue residence, owned by friends.

On May 31, the BOE requested its removal from the suit, which the DOE’s Bureau of Controversies and Disputes denied.

“I am grateful for his service and dedication to the students in our district, and will miss his many valuable contributions. I welcome and look forward to working with our new colleague, Ms. Priscilla Church,” said Hertzog.

“I enjoyed working with Dr. Turner. He was very passionate about many issues, including eliminating the achievement gap,” Kavesh said. “I wish him well in his future endeavors.”