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Nancy J. Joseph said Wednesday she is prepared to resign from the School Board, if necessary, to accept a position in the administration of Mayor-elect Irene J. Elia, but that she still is researching the legalities.

Meanwhile, Joseph A. Giarrizzo, the School Board's president, said he received a legal opinion Wednesday from Angelo Massaro, attorney for the school district, saying that state education law would prohibit Joseph from keeping the School Board seat if she accepts the city position.

Based on that opinion, Giarrizzo said he expects Joseph to resign if she accepts the position. Joseph said she had not received Massaro's opinion and "I want to make sure all bases of the law are covered."

She said if the law requires her to make a choice, she would take the position in Elia's administration. But, she said, she would give up the School Board seat "reluctantly" because she has enjoyed serving on the board.

"All good things come to an end," she said, adding that she believes more people should run for the board even if it's just for one term because it keeps bringing fresh ideas to the body.

Joseph is more than halfway through her first five-year term. She was elected in 1996, urged to run by Elia, who was very interested in the issue of the new high school that was being debated at the time. Joseph in turn served as Elia's campaign treasurer in her recent run for mayor.

Fellow School Board member and past president Edward Barauskas also is a city employee. The difference is that Barauskas, who is a senior auditor with the Community Development Department, is not in a policy-making position, according to Massaro's opinion. Joseph's new position as deputy director of planning and economic development is a public officer position with policy-making authority, Giarrizzo said. Acting Corporation Counsel Timothy G. Bax agreed that is the difference.

Ronald D. Anton, Elia's nominee for corporation counsel, said Joseph's position carries a great deal of decision-making authority in the absence of the director.

The city planning and economic development job pays about $46,000 a year. The School Board position is unpaid.

Giarrizzo said Joseph has served the School Bard "well and admirably."

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