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South Plainfield Board of Education member Debbie Boyle. (Photo: Debbie Boyle for Board of Education).

More ethics complaint filed against school board member

By David Wildstein, September 19 2022 1:56 pm

South Plainfield school board member Debbie Boyle is facing four new allegations of ethics  violations after being accused of releasing confidential documents

This would bring the total number of ethics complaints against Boyle to twelve.

“If the allegations are true, Mrs. Boyle has no authority whatsoever to provide this documentation to anyone, particularly somebody who is suing the South Plainfield School District,” said Pio Pennisi, the school board president.  “This unexplainable and inexcusable conduct, in our opinion, would be the very definition of unethical conduct and it certainly undermines the public trust which is the cornerstone of the School Ethics Act.”

The complaint stems from a lawsuit filed by Robert Diehl, a former school district administrator and Edison council president who alleges that Superintendent of Schools Noreen Tansey Lishak sought to interfere with his promotion to a principal.

Documents from Boyle were delivered by hand to Diehl’s home, his attorney said.

The school board voted unanimously to file the complaints.

“I do not believe there is any other way that [they] could have been released other than by her,” he said. “We can think of no reason that Mrs. Boyle might have done this other than to directly try to harm the board and its superintendent and help an individual suing the district.”

Boyle denied that she had ever been at Diehl’s home or office.

“At no time, did I direct any person to deliver any material to Mr. Diehl,” she said in a legal certification.  “The chain of custody of the documents in question were my original entire file of legal matters that had been provided to the Board Secretary. This occurred before any alleged delivery.”

Boyle said the “charge was so foolish” that she has offered to take a lie detector test at her own expense.

This story was updated at 11:25 AM on September 20 with comment from Boyle. 

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