Judge Rules Maloney Back to Harlem School Board Seat

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Though she was all smiles leaving the courtroom, reinstated Harlem School Board member Gloria Maloney says it's time to get back to work, not brag about her legal victory.

"Yes, I'm going to go to the board office and get the materials and work on it this afternoon, and I will be at the board meeting tonight," Maloney said.

After a two-hour hearing, Winnebago County Judge Timothy Gill grants an injunction, meaning Maloney is not only back on the board, but the district is also blocked in its search for a replacement. In his remarks, Gill said the board violated Maloney's due process.

The judge ruled that Maloney wasn't allowed to defend charges that she lived outside of the district when the board voted her out at an October 11 meeting.

"Our position was just that we wanted Mrs. Maloney to have the opportunity to speak to the allegations that were raised about the residency. We wanted the opportunity to present any evidence she had to the contrary they were stating," Attorney Anne Vecchio said.

The attorney representing the school board argued Maloney herself admitted to fellow board members she lived outside the district, and the board had no choice but to act.

Harlem's attorney claimed that Maloney had ample opportunity since July to respond to the board's suspicions of her living in Janesville, Wisconsin, but the judge ruled due process, not Maloney's residency, was the legal question at hand.

"As far as our case goes, it looks at this point that the issues have been resolved. Whether or not the school board is going to pursue any issues pertaining to residency is their call. I don't have any say as to that," Vecchio said.

Now, the question is, after Monday's ruling, if or how the Harlem board and Maloney can co-exist.

"Because our position is that she should be on the board, we believe we should have a say on ongoing issues and anything to the contrary would probably cause problems," Vecchio said.

This controversy between the board and one of its members could continue for some time if Maloney's residence continues to be an issue, despite the judge's ruling.