Maintenance position was posted without superintendent’s knowledge

Last updated: August 06. 2014 11:44PM - 3946 Views
By - mguydish@timesleader.com

Pittston Area School District Support Staff union president Tom Rome, questioned the legality of a recent job posting at the district during Tuesday's School Board meeting.
Pittston Area School District Support Staff union president Tom Rome, questioned the legality of a recent job posting at the district during Tuesday's School Board meeting.
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YATESVILLE — A union head raised questions at Tuesday’s Pittston Area School Board meeting regarding the legality of a job posting he claimed was made without the superintendent’s knowledge and with someone else signing the superintendent’s initials.

Support staff union president Tom Rome asked the board about the posting. He didn’t specify the position during his comments, but outside the meeting said he was referring to the newly created position of high school maintenance supervisor, a job the board gave to Pittston City Councilman Kenneth Bangs at its June meeting.

Rome, who admits he unsuccessfully applied for the job, contends Superintendent Michael Garzella said he was not in the district when the post was made. Board Member Joseph Kelly said he was told the same thing.

Rome then asked Solicitor Joe Saporito “What kind of control does the board have creating positions,” adding that he heard “a board member called the office and created a position.”

Board member Bruce Knick then interrupted, “Mr. Garzella wasn’t here but he knew about the position.”

Suggesting such procedures would be a matter of board policy, Saporito told Rome, “It’s not a legal matter for my involvement.”

After the meeting Garzella confirmed he was not at the district office but changes had been discussed. “I didn’t know it was posted, but I’m okay with the posting,” he said.

Board President Anthony Guariglia said he “absolutely did not” tell anyone to post the position, and that he had no knowledge of any other board member doing so. He also said that even if Garzella was unaware of the posting he “had plenty of time to raise any concerns” before the position was filled.

“We had a plan in place to reorganize the front office, with a savings of a lot of money,” Guariglia said, eliminating three positions and assigning those duties to three employees who received $5,000 increases.

Rome said the creation of the position was frustrating because, in an effort to help save money during a budget crunch, the union had agreed two years ago to forego a contract requirement that two more people be hired. Rome said that agreement has expired and the union has filed a grievance that is in arbitration

Guariglia said the board feels “we have met our obligations. The board did appoint Brian Pesotine as maintenance mechanic and Joseph Warunek as part-time custodian.Tuesday.

Guariglia said he didn’t know who authorized the posting, but suggested there may have been some mis-communication between Garzella and district Principal Kevin Booth, who also serves as human resources director. Booth did not return a call Wednesday.

During the meeting, the board made short work of a light agenda that included:

• Agreeing to let residents 62 or older with proper identification be admitted free of charge to any school district activities during the coming school year.

• Naming the field house at the stadium in honor of the district’s first football coach, Robert Barbieri.

• Hiring Aryanna Engleman as art teacher and Amanda Knowles as special education teacher.

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