HILLSIDE, NJ — Out of more than 50 candidates for the Hillside Board of Education’s soon-to-be vacant business administrator’s position, a candidate charged with drunken driving seems to be the top pick.
Michael Neves, 60, who is currently the B.A. for the Boonton Board of Education, was charged by Morris County Park Police with drunken driving on Dec. 30 after he was involved in a vehicle crash in Morris Township. Neves was also charged with a variety of other violations. Neves pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. The case is still pending.
The charges were reported in January by several news outlets, including the Star Ledger, Daily Record, the Observer-Tribune, and TapintoMorristown, among others.
Neves has served as the business administrator for the Boonton public schools since 2014.
The discovery regarding Neves’ drunken driving charge was discovered several weeks ago by Hillside BOE Vice President Nagy Sileem, who then alerted his colleagues of the issue.
Ken Weinheimer, Hillside’s current business administrator for the Hillside BOE, will end his tenure on June 30.
Hillside Superintendent of Schools Antoine Gayles told BOE members in a June 19 email that Neves was the standout candidate.
“In April, a committee of central office staff conducted a paper screening of candidates and selected eight candidates to interview,” wrote Gayles in the email. “In May, we went through the applications a second time and identified two additional candidates to interview.”
Of the final five candidates, wrote Gayles, “Michael Neves was selected by the committee as the top candidate.”
According to the letter, Neves has served in several school districts.
“Michael brings 14 years of experience as the business administrator in the Boonton and Randolph public schools and the budget director with Newark Public Schools,” wrote Gayles. “It was my goal to have members of the board meet Michael to review his credentials and ask questions at a special meeting next week, hoping to have him in place for July as he will be available. In order to provide the board more time to review Michael’s qualifications and meet with him, we can hold that meeting in July and hopefully, make the appointment on July 20.”
Gayles did not respond to LocalSource’s request for comment as of press time.
Hillside BOE President Dahlia Vertreese told LocalSource that Neves being offered employment is disturbing.
“As of last week, the board was advised that Mr. Neves is the superintendent’s recommendation for the BA position,” Vertreese said in a June 22 email.
“Although personnel matters are handled solely by the superintendent, this is an awkward position for the board to be in since school employees in Mr. Neves’ situation are typically placed on administrative leave until a decision is rendered, yet we are offering employment. This revelation is unfortunate and causes unnecessary scrutiny for our district, which also sidetracks endeavors to move the district forward.”
Sileem told LocalSource that a decision has not yet been made but that Gayles is pushing for Neves’ appointment.
“The board did not approve him yet,” Sileem said in a June 20 email. “As of yet, no recommendation to the board. It’s been brought to the labor committee, and to the board president and vice president, per my information.”
According to Sileem, Gayles has asked for a special meeting to be held June 29 in order to bring Neves before the board.