Six incumbents re-elected to Toronto Catholic board

  • October 27, 2010
TORONTO - New and returning members of Toronto’s embattled Catholic school board are both calling for reconciliation and a fresh start following Oct. 25 elections that resulted in a significant turnover of the 12-member board.

With a record number of candidates and above-average voter turn-out leading to several close races, Toronto Catholic District School Board voters elected six new candidates and six incumbents.

New trustee Jo-Ann Davis, who defeated long-time trustee and former chair Catherine LeBlanc-Miller, said voters sent a clear message with a high voter turn-out and election of new trustees.

“I think it’s pretty clear that people want to move forward,” she told The Register. “They’re looking for something new. They’re looking for more continued accountability and transparency.”

They’re also looking for management of Canada’s largest Catholic school board, which was taken over by the province two years ago, to be returned to the care of trustees.

Provincially appointed board supervisor Richard Alway told The Register he was unable to comment on the election results, but said the process of reviewing supervision will begin after the provincial audit of the board’s budget. That could start as early as December when trustees are sworn in and have their first meeting, he said.

In the tightest Toronto race, bank project manager Tobias Enverga won by 36 votes over former principal Carol Williams in Ward 8.

The ward, which had the second highest number of candidates running at seven, had been held by former board chair Oliver Carroll before he was removed from the board after being found guilty of 10 counts of conflict of interest.

“As a Catholic, I believe we should give (the re-elected incumbents) a second chance,” Enverga said.

Former chair Angela Kennedy, one of the incumbents re-elected, won with 47 per cent of the vote over three other candidates. Kennedy said she has “learned a great deal” from her experience during her last term.

“I will make sure that I take utmost care that I pay appropriate attention” to matters which “we assume routine or innocuous but are not,” she said.

Kennedy was one of three Catholic school trustees brought to court over conflict-of-interest charges during the last board’s term in office, but is appealing a guilty verdict and maintains that she did nothing wrong.

“The voters re-elected me and they’re putting their faith and trust in me and I’m absolutely committed to honouring their trust,” Kennedy said.

The conflict-of-interest case filed against 30-year trustee Barbara Poplawski was dismissed Oct. 22 by an Ontario Superior Court Justice who cited lack of evidence.

Poplawski was returned to office with 34 per cent of the vote over four other Ward 10 challengers.

Ward 3 trustee Sal Piccininni, who took 48 per cent of the vote over three other candidates despite being cited in an auditor’s report for filing questionable expenses, said the election represents a new beginning for the Catholic trustees.

“We are Catholics. The Pope always preaches forgiveness and peace. We need to move forward with that in mind,” said Piccininni.

The 10-year trustee said he is looking forward to working with the new board.

“We can sit there and discuss our  differences at the board table but we have to realize that it’s not personal,” Piccininni said.

The new board
Ward 1 -  Peter Jakovcic
Ward 2 - *Ann Andrachuk
Ward 3 - *Sal Piccininni
Ward 4 - Patrizia Bottoni
Ward 5 - *Maria Rizzo
Ward 6 - Frank D’Amico
Ward 7 - *John Del Grande
Ward 8 - Tobias Enverga
Ward 9 - Jo-Ann Davis
Ward 10 - *Barbara Poplawski
Ward 11 - *Angela Kennedy
Ward 12- Nancy Crawford
* = incumbent

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.