YATESVILLE – The Pittston Area School Board named a new president Tuesday during its reorganization meeting, but a spot held by the former board president and questions regarding board committees quickly took center stage.
Attorney Mark Singer began his third term as president by a 7-to-2 vote. He was president in 2003 and 2004.
Singer, a 1980 Pittston Area graduate, said as president he looked forward to leading the district to work on their state testing scores and securing state funding.
“Our goal is to help our students find their way in life,” Singer said.
In a move that caused considerable discussion, former board President Joe Oliveri was retained as the district’s representative to the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center by a 6-3 vote. Board members Singer, John Adonizio, Tony Guariglia, Michael McAndrew, Martin Quinn voted to retain Oliveri. Oliveri voted for himself.
Board member Bob Linskey nominated Kent Bratlee to replace Oliveri as representative, noting the board had previously discussed rotating those positions.
Board members Terry Best and Linskey voted for Bratlee. Bratlee voted for himself.
Linskey said when Oliveri first asked to serve on the board, he did so because he wanted to fix some of the practices at the institution.
Before Oliveri joined the vo-tech board a former Pittston Area School Board member’s son was working at the vo-tech and another former Pittston Area School Board member’s wife and close friend were also working at the school, Linskey said.
“Mr. Oliveri felt that was nepotism and that was wrong. He wanted either to eliminate the positions or they should be terminated. Not only are all three of those people still working there, but now Mr. Oliveri’s wife and son are working there. He is not representing Pittston Area in the way that Pittston Area should be represented. We are paying more and more every year for our students to go to the vo-tech and that is one of the reasons,” Linskey said.
Oliveri denied that, saying he wanted to help make his alma mater better. He graduated from the vo-tech in 1975.
Adonizio defended Oliveri by saying “he is doing a fine job” and it would take someone else too long to learn how the vo-tech school and board operate.
Oliveri has a son and wife employed by the vo-tech school. He was not present at the vo-tech board meeting earlier this fall when his wife was hired as a teaching assistant.
Oliveri abstained for voting for his son’s hiring.
Oliveri’s three-year term on the vo-tech board ends in 2011.
Guariglia also was named the board’s vice president by an unanimous decision.