Around New England

Catholic Priest Serving on School Committee

December 13, 2018

A Roman Catholic pastor is the newest member of the school committee that oversees Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Fall River.

Father Jay Mello, pastor of St. Michael’s and St. Joseph’s parishes in Fall River, was appointed to the Greater Fall River Vocational School District Committee in late November.

Mello, 38, serves as principal of a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade diocesan elementary school connected to St. Michael’s Parish.

As a teen-ager Mello studied culinary arts at Diman, graduating in 1998.

“I don’t think that there’s any necessary conflict that would arise between my religious convictions, or my vocation as a priest that would in any way inhibit my position on the school committee,” Mello said, according to SouthCoastToday com, the web site of the New Bedford Standard Times.

Mello was appointed by Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II, who is under indictment on federal fraud charges stemming from a business he founded before he was elected mayor. The city council voted 6-3 to confirm Mello’s appointment. Mello attributed the no votes on his appointment to opposition to the mayor.

Mello’s first major vote took place Thursday, December 6, when he cast the sole dissenting vote in a 5-1 decision not to renew the contract of the superintendent, Tom Aubin, according to the Fall River Herald News. Supporters of Aubin are rallying behind him and trying to flip the school committee’s vote.