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Fulcomer Stymied In Push For Shared Services

Vicari cautions against sharing administrators

When James Fulcomer ran for a seat on the Berkeley Board of Education last year, he pledged to do what he could to share services with other school districts.

"That was a campaign commitment," he said today. "I'm doing what I can to consolidate services."

Fulcomer was trying to do just that at the May 24 school board meeting when he questioned why Superintendent Joseph H. Vicari and other school officials recommended hiring a pupil transportation supervisor.

"I think we have missed a number of opportunities over the years...to save hundreds of thousands of dollars," Fulcomer said during the meeting. "We are missing an opportunity to consolidate essential administrative positions, and it is costly to taxpayers."

Fulcomer said Central Regional officials had offered the use of their transportation coordinator for a reduced cost of between $25,000 to $30,000.

"You should save taxpayers money and generate more money for the children," he said today. "We should gradually eliminate superfluous supervisory positions."

Fulcomer then asked the board to accept the shared services committee recommendation to continue shared services discussions with the Central Regional school district.

Board President repeatedly rapped his gavel as Fulcomer attempted to continue.

"Mr. Fulcomer... you are discussing a matter of litigation going on with Central Regional," Pellechia said.

"I've been muzzled," Fulcomer replied.

Fulcomer amended his recommendation that the shared services committee be allowed to continue talks with Central Regional once the district's litigation with Seaside Park has ended.

The board instead voted to table the request until the next board meeting.

In the end, the board voted 5 to 2 to appoint Barbara Fitzpatrick to the 12-month pupil transportation supervisor, at an annual salary of $59,000, effective July 1. Fulcomer and board member Salvatore Ferlise voted no. Board member James McMoyle abstained.

The exchange between Fulcomer and Pellecchia was just one of many during a sometimes bizarre meeting that lasted more than four and a half hours.

Board member was present at the beginning of the meeting. Shortly after, the board went into closed session to discuss the "interim" superintendent position.

When they came out more than an hour later, Parks was no longer on the dais. , citing unprofessional conduct on the part of some board members at the closed session.

Fulcomer also asked the board to authorize a resolution allowing the look to other school districts for more shared services.

But both outgoing Superintendent of Schools and Berkeley Township Elementary School Principal James Roselli cautioned against sharing administrative positions.

"I think it's a buzzword," said Vicari, whose last day in the district is Thursday. "You need to be very careful with it."

Roselli said consolidating administrative positions "doesn't always work that well."

"There's a lot of personal things you lose through shared services," he said.

The district is in the midst of a superintendent search to oversee the four-person district. The board in April to conduct a search. For a chronology of the lengthy search for a permanent superintendent, .

In the meantime, board members authorized hiring Carole K. Morris at the May 24 meeting to serve as interim superintendent starting June 1, at a salary of $500 per day.

Bill Storm, May 29, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Why can't you share administrators? That is a dumb remark from a stupid mouth. Your function is to save taxpayers money, let's get busy and do that. Election day is getting closer every day. Keep in mind, YOU SPEND, YOU LOSE!
voice of reason May 29, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Wow so they turned down a super for free to pay 6,500 to look for one ? and $500 a day for a interim ? and now hired a pupil transportation supervisor for $59.000 turning down a shared transportation coordinater at $30.ooo ? unbelievable as for vicari buzzword they already share the garage and mechanics that fix the buses and the lot the buses park on ? this is a no brainer but again Berkeley board is playing politics and not thinking about taxpayers
Christine Dwight May 29, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Roselli said that because they are waiting for him to get his superintendent certificate so that he can be the new sup. This board is ridiculous.
barb May 29, 2012 at 11:24 PM
they are not even trying, have to have an agenda. Sad because there is no way the voters will ever vote for the Berkeley schools if they keep this up. The superintendent position is a no brainer and they shoildn't have had to even think about the transportation job. such a waste, like I said just sad. politics at its worst
voice of reason May 29, 2012 at 11:34 PM
The future should be k-12 1 super 1 BA 1 Board 1 Transportation Dept 1 Building and Grounds 1 special sevices 1 curriculum Director 1 cafeteria service all this would create MASSIVE SAVINGS for taxpayers this would also benefit the kids ie carriculum Director , more unified time schedule for school start and finish this could have been started in september but with some hard work but The board and some berkeley admins are afraid of losing there jobs
Chief Wahoo May 30, 2012 at 02:42 AM
The republicants are grabbing everything they can before it all collapses.
Joe Semiraro May 30, 2012 at 11:35 AM
It's no wonder. The Bd of Ed is dominated by union members that are bent on protecting union jobs and benefits. They say it's all about the kids. What a joke. Time and time again they show no interest in running an efficient system or spending tax dollars wisely. Educators tell us how good our school system is compared to others in the area. Another joke, when you consider the US is ranked 25 in the world in education.
Fawkes May 30, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Who ever said that the RepubliKlan Party was the party of low spending? On this school board they're essentially using our tax dollars as toilet paper.
Fawkes May 30, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Their wasting of money has absolutely nothing to do with unions.

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