Vicari's Last Berkeley Board Of Ed Meeting A Lively One
Board votes to hire interim superintendent, Vicari lashes out at 'Blitzkrieg of 2008'
The Berkeley Township school district will have another 'interim' superintendent on June 1, when former Monmouth County schools superintendent Carole K. Morris takes over.
It's the second time in four years the district has had a temporary superintendent. Current Bayville Elementary School principal Arlene J. Lippincott served for nearly two years in the position when Vicari left.
Berkeley Board of Education members went into closed session at the May 24 board meeting for over an hour. When they came out, they voted to appoint Morris to the position, at a salary of $500 a day.
Current Superintendent Joseph H. Vicari — who returned to the district 14 months ago at a reduced salary — said he left feeling "vindicated" over a previous board decision not to renew his contract back in 2008.
"I'd like to thank your for letting me serve you for 14 months," he told the board. "I'd like to thank the eight members of the board for giving me an outstanding evaluation."
Board member Dawn Parks, who was not present for most of the meeting last night, was the only board member to give Vicari an unfavorable evaluation earlier this year.
The district received excellent grades during a recent state Quality Single Act Continuum (QSAC) evaluation, Vicari said.
"We have done not good, not outstanding, but superior," he said.
Vicari served as superintendent for six years, until a previous board back in 2008 declined to renew his contract. Vicari has said many times the vote to remove him was illegal. His last board meeting was no exception.
"At least I found vindication," Vicari said.
He referred to the previous board's decision not to rehire him as the "Blitzkrieg of 2008."
"What happened in 2008... an illegal vote was taken," he said.
Vicari also defended Board President Steven M. Pellecchia, who he said had been "abused continuously by name bashing" for voting to bring him back.
Parks and former board member Patrick Riley filed an ethics complaint against Pellicchia in late December 2010 and later amended it in February 2011. The two claimed that Pellecchia had violated state school ethics laws by participating in a vote to bring Vicari back as superintendent while he (Pellecchia) was a seasonal employee of the Ocean County Board of Elections.
The state School Ethics Commission found that Pellecchia had violated state statues by participating in the vote and making the motion to appoint Vicari, who is also an Ocean County Freeholder, because Pellecchia had an "indirect financial involvement."
For a chronology of the long search for a new superintendent, click here.
Morris will preside over the district until a new permanent superintendent is found. The board approved a $6,500 at the April board meeting to hire Richard Marasco of Leadership Advantage to conduct the search.
Marasco said at a public forum on the search two weeks ago he expected to have a "short list" of candidates ready in a few weeks.
Pellecchia said after last night's lengthy meeting that the board had not received the list yet. Morris will serve in the position until a new superintendent is on board, he said.
Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr., Township Council President James J. Byrnes, board and audience members thanked Vicari for his service.