By Frank F. Fleischman III (FF3,) Lead Editor

Belleville Watch has issued a challenge to Belleville Board of Education candidates to sign its “Board of Education Candidate Pledge.” A PDF copy of the Pledge has been e-mailed to all candidates.

The pledge consists of several commitments, forged out of complaints and feedback we’ve received over the past three years about candidates, elected officials and election campaigns. They are commonsense and practical commitments.

For the past two years, we had asked board of education candidates to commit to urging the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General to further investigate the acts and decisions leading up to the 2014 school board deficit. Belleville taxpayers are still paying back the state for that $4 million deficit, and the New Jersey State Auditor — who in 2018 published a report of his findings, following a three-year investigation — stated in that report he’d sent certain criminal matters to the state attorney general’s office. In the ensuing years, no charges have been forthcoming against anyone who may have been involved.

This year, we decided to challenge candidates to sign something more comprehensive. Enter the “Belleville Watch Board of Education Pledge.”

The pledge is voluntary and is not enforceable by law. While board of education trustees must abide by a state-mandated code of ethics once elected, this pledge is directed toward candidates. The pledge is a way for candidates to demonstrate good faith to Belleville voters that they expect to be held accountable.

Candidates have until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, October 14th to return the signed pledge to Belleville Watch by e-mailing Candidates who sign and return the pledge by the deadline will be recognized on this site and on Belleville Watch’s social media.