WILKES-BARRE — Several Wilkes-Barre Area School Board members had sharp words for a local sports broadcaster in their decision to reject a request by Service Electric Cable TV to broadcast district football games Tuesday.
When Board Member Dino Galella made a motion to consider the request near the end of the meeting, Denise Thomas jumped in with unabashed disdain, noting one of their broadcasters had “chastised our own kids on the air. The last thing we need is a broadcaster going on TV and chastising our kids.”
Member John Quinn was equally forceful. “He made statements that were ridiculous, saying ‘if you love your children you’d pull them out of certain a certain school’.” Quinn later named the school. “He hammered GAR.”
No name was mentioned, but they were referring to Rob Neyhard. Galella said he did not know the details but suspected the comments may have been taken out of context. As the discussion progressed, several members agreed that Neyhard had not made the comments during a TV broadcast of a game, but said them later while on a radio program.
Galella also noted the request came from Service Electric, a cable company that “drops a line in our schools.”
Board President Louis Elmy cut the debate short and called for a vote, but part way into the roll call Galella asked if he could table the issue to get more information on the incident and what Service Electric might be willing to do to accommodate the board’s concerns. With Solicitor Ray Wendolowski absent, Christine Katsock noted once the vote began it could not be tabled.
Joseph Caffrey cast the lone yes vote, saying this was the first time he had heard about the issue and that he felt students should have “the opportunity to be on TV.” But after five others cast no votes and three cast abstentions, Katsock told Caffrey that if he was uncomfortable with his vote he could change it as long as roll call had not been completed.
Caffrey changed his vote, joining Galella, James Susek and the Rev. Shawn Walker in abstaining.
Galella said he would talk with Service Electric to see if arrangements could be worked out that would satisfy the board.