The naming of a superintendent for a school district, especially one as corrupt as Wilkes-Barre Area, should never be a surprise or, in a perfect world, the result of a split board.
It most certainly should not be “a shock” to fellow board members.
But leave it to one of the the area’s most tarnished, untrustworthy school boards to inflict a superintendent on a school district, which for years has cried out for a thorough cleansing.
Frankly, we never expected this board to take the high road and conduct a nationwide search for this most critical position at this most critical time. Instead, in a move which even surprised the board’s president, five school directors promoted Bernard Prevuznak to replace Jeff Namey, who retired this summer after overseeing a district plagued with corruption, nepotism, back room deals and the approval of obscene legal bills.
Going through the motions of conducting a search, while taking the public for idiots, the board sought the assistance of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. Obviously that was a joke since it is pretty obvious Prevuznak had the job from day one.
Board President Maryanne Toole said the district received 17 applications, eight or nine people were interviewed and three were called back, The Times Leader reported.
And that was that. The process was complete, and Prevuznak was the best candidate, declared board member Robert Corcoran. Maybe he was, but the public would be hard pressed to take Corcoran’s word for it. How about making public the resumes of those candidates who were passed over? Mr. Corcoran.
And in yet another show of naked arrogance, the board named the new superintendent under new business. Surpriiiiiise.
John Quinn made the motion, which was seconded by Corcoran and supported by Dino Galella, Philip Latinski and Louis Elmy. Voting no were Toole, Lynn Evans, Christine Katsock and James Susek.
There was no discussion whatsoever, board Vice-President Evans told The Citizens’ Voice. “This was a shock.”
Corcoran poohed poohed the minority board members’ complaints, saying they could have discussed the appointment at the public meeting. Instead, he said, they chose to “pout like children and vote no.” They pouted like children? Why, because they didn’t see this apparently pre-meditated hiring coming? This guy is something else.
Prevuznak, whom we’re guessing wasn’t among those who were shocked, said, “I’m willing to serve all members of the board equally.” Well, that’s good to know considering he’s now indebted to five of them.
The board majority was full of surprises last Monday. Also under new business, the board brazenly thumbed its nose at the public and passed a long-awaited hiring policy, which allows its members to hire their relatives as usual, but on the absurd condition that they publicly acknowledge the relationship.
Hmmmm. We can hear it now.
New business: The board moves to hire a deputy superintendent “pending negotiation” of his contract.
Latinski: In the spirit of full disclosure, I’d like to announce that my nephew is the one getting the job.
Corcoran: And before we vote on an assistant solicitor, I’m forced to inform the public that my future daughter-in-law in a few minutes will be the one hired.
Galella: I guess I have to tell ya that my Uncle Tim will be hired tonight for chief custodian at a salary of $75,000. I trust no one has a problem with that since I fessed up.
This school board personifies arrogance. Despite criminal indictments which has tainted this district and has cast a shadow on everyone who works there, it continues to make clear that it will do whatever it wants, whenever it wants.
The board meets next month to reorganize. Gee, who will be board president? And what new business will be sprung on an unsuspecting public, we wonder?
And who will be hired? Aunt Molly? Cousin Jake? Johnny Jr. Or the highest bidder?
- Betty Roccograndi