South Bend, Ind. A local Wells Fargo financial advisor is the latest addition to the South Bend Community School Corp.’s board, filling the position left vacant by Roger Parent resignation earlier last month.
John Anella is a private financial officer based in Mishawaka, a 1989 Adams High School graduate and South Bend resident.
His appointment didn’t come without push back at Monday night’s meeting.
Two of the board’s six members voted against Anella. Secretary Dawn Jones and member Bill Sniadecki cited “diversity concerns” on the board.
“Our board does not reflect our student population,” Jones said in a statement to the board. “We’re 14 percent Hispanic, 14 percent African American and around 79 percent white -- I believe there is a correlation to the numbers overall.”
Tensions were high and voices were raised during parts of the meeting leading up to the vote.
“We're 80 percent inner city kids,” Sniadecki told NewsCenter16 before the meeting. “We need a more diverse board instead of having special interests.”
Board members responded to those concerns after the appointment was made.
“Our diversity hasn't changed at all,” said Board President Michelle Engel. “We've replaced a white man from the same district that Mr. Parent lived in. Could we have more diversity? Sure, but now we have diversity of expertise and I'm excited about that.”
Anella’s supporters said the candidate’s financial background would be an asset to the board in budgetary matters.
“We're a little bit weak on that so I'm happy to have someone who is very familiar with that work,” Engel said.
Anella, whose son is currently enrolled at Adams High School, says he is hoping to be a good resource to his community.
“I grew up here,” he said. “I live here, I have a child in the School Corp, it's an important part of the community and I'm invested in this community.”
As for any conflict of interest with the assets he oversees at Wells Fargo, Anella said there is none.
“I personally have no privy or dealing with any financial dealings with the School Corp,” he said. “So I would say no.”