Monday night's Grove City school board work session got off to a tense start, resulting in a stoppage just five minutes in.

During public comment, resident Ryan Thomas asked if the board had accepted the resignation of Carolyn Oppenheimer.

He was referring to an incident that happened after an executive session held Feb. 5 following a work session. Oppenheimer reportedly wrapped fellow board member Patty Wilson in a bear hug and hit her in the nose while grabbing papers from her, according to Grove City police. Wilson filed a harassment citation against Oppenheimer.

Board President Dr. Constance Nichols told Thomas that direct questions can't be answered during public comment, and he again asked if any action had been taken.

Resident Esther Falcetta said that the board could not respond, and she questioned a perceived violation of the Sunshine Act. Nichols noted that Falcetta was not signed up to speak during public comment.

Oppenheimer called for "point of order" several times with board member J. Scott Somora backing her up.

Nichols called for a vote to suspend the meeting, and Somora accused her of trying to act like a dictator.

Oppenheimer questioned Nichols' authority in suspending a meeting, asking if it is part of Robert's Rules of Order. Solicitor Andrew Evankovich confirmed that the board president is able to suspend a meeting.

Oppenheimer and Somora objected to the suspension. They asked for a vote overruling the suspension, with Somora noting that a meeting can't be recessed under Robert's Rules.

The motion failed 2 to 6 with Oppenheimer and Somora voting against the suspension. Ray Abplanalp, Robert Hensel, Wilson, Heather Baker, Dr. Michael O'Donovan and Nichols voted in favor of the suspension. Dr. Armando Sciullo was absent.

There was a five-minute break, after which Somora questioned the Feb. 12 meeting minutes. They noted they he agreed to suspend that meeting, which he did not; Nichols confirmed that he did not agree.

Somora said that on Feb. 12 he had wanted to discuss the incident between Oppenheimer and Wilson before that meeting was halted. Nichols reminded him that that incident was not up for discussion, and Oppenheimer again called for "point of order."

Nichols apologized to other board members about the games being played, which Oppenheimer said she viewed as negative and should be addressed under the board policy about about members who are disorderly.

The meeting then continued without further disagreements.


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