WILKES-BARRE — Only months after landing the job, Wilkes-Barre Are School District Superintendent Bernard Prevuznak announced he is leaving the position for family reasons and returning to the position of deputy superintendent.
Prevuznak said he will continue working as superintendent until the board finds a replacement.
The board also also set the wheels in motion to remove absentee member Robert Corcoran, who has taken a job in Germany and moved there with no remaining residence in the district, and unanimously rejected a $270,000, three-year contract for monitoring of external cameras at district schools.
“Personal circumstances will not allow me the opportunity or the time to be a successful candidate for the position of superintendent,” Prevuznak said in a prepared statement, his voice cracking with emotion as he continued. “Rather I’ve come to realize more than ever my mortality, that life is a precious gift, not to be wasted or taken for granted.”
Prevuznak said his father is ill.
Prevuznak was named interim superintendent last summer when Jeff Namey retired and the board contracted the Pennsylvania School Boards Association to help conduct a search for a new candidate. Several board members were surprised when five — including Corcoran prior to moving to Germany — opted to declare the search was over and voted to make Prevuznak superintendent in November.
At the start of a work session preceding the regular meeting, Board Member Phil Latinski noted this would be the second consecutive meeting Corcoran had missed. State law allows the board to remove a member who misses two consecutive meetings without cause.
Corcoran had attended a meeting prior to that via a Skype computer connection from Germany, prompting a walkout by three members who believed his participation was illegal because he had admitted he has no physical residence in the district.
Latinski asked if he could legally move to remove Corcoran during Monday’s meeting. Solicitor Ray Wendolowski said the law does not offer details, but that “ancient” court cases ruled that the second meeting had to be completed before the board could vote on removing a member. Wendolowski also said court decisions suggested the board should give Corcoran notice that such a vote would be held, in case he wanted to contest the move.
Latinski said he would move to schedule a special meeting April 22 at 5:30 p.m. to vote to remove Corcoran, and to vote to advertise for potential candidates to complete his term. Once Corcoran is removed, the board would have 30 days to pick a replacement.
If none is picked, a Luzerne County judge can choose one. At the end of the meeting, Latinski did move for an April 22 meeting, and the board approved the motion unanimously.
The board rejected a proposed contract with Hawkeye Security Solutions to monitor external cameras 24 hours a day, with several members pointing out that Hawkeye — a non-profit formed by Wilkes-Barre to get cameras installed in the city — does not bill other businesses that benefit from those cameras.
Hawkeye Vice President Greg Barrouk told the board this contract was was cheaper than an original, three-year contract that expired last year because that contract included installation of the cameras.
He also told the board that Hawkeye would need to reduce the number of cameras in the city “by 20 percent” if the contract were not approved.