While the headlines for the Pittston Area School Board’s Nov. 10 meeting concentrated on the vote to provide a new name to the Primary Center, another accomplishment was finalized that received little notice.
Two part-time workers from within the school district were hired as full-time cafeteria workers, as opposed to hiring outside of the work body. Now, such an action would normally fall under the radar, but this must be viewed as a major accomplishment. Between the two individuals, they share almost 40 years of working experience (15 and 21 years, respectively); it would seem to be a no-brainer for this hiring to happen due to their extensive knowledge and seniority.
But this is not common practice, and years of conversations and debates through school board meetings, newspaper articles and the like took place to make an achievement such as this a reality.
And from within this same meeting, after a positive achievement, one of our publicly elected board members had the gall to state that he was “appalled” by workers from within the district speaking their mind during these board meetings.
Board member Anthony Guariglia has served Pittston Area’s school district for eight years in this role and was even presented with a plaque recognizing his tenure. During his goodbye speech, Mr. Guariglia stated that Pittston Area has the best teachers, best workers, best administrators, but casually injected that he is appalled by people who work for the district speaking up about the district.
Does this mean that only the best workers in the district are the individuals who remain silent? Should our public officials not be challenged when overstepping or falling below the high standards for which they should be judged? Is this the attitude you carried throughout your tenure, Mr. Guariglia, and will you be taking this arrogant viewpoint with you as you move to your new board position elsewhere?
I’d also like to point out that Mr. Guariglia was facing our nation’s flag, making this statement to practically undercut our First Amendment rights to speak our minds and challenge authority when need be.
It took significant change to even allow part-time workers from within the district to get a shot at being full-time workers. And this change was accomplished by individuals challenging a system distinct for the bottom line being “you need five votes.”
I open this conversation regarding Mr. Guariglia’s mindset by opening up about myself and how I was hired. I was part of this same corrupt hiring system. I had a sponsor and I was not educated in the inner workings of how the school board came up with five votes. I would like to talk about the “family trees” working within the district. If you don’t believe me, take a look at a wedding or funeral date and see how many workers call off. I would like to talk about what deals are made to receive a job and how you have to wait your turn to be hired, regardless of your credentials.
It seems to me – by Mr. Guariglia’s statement of being appalled – that he believes workers owe the board for the rest of their employment. They owe the board their silence, without opinion, and should never oppose the majority.
Workers within the district have the best view of everything that occurs on school grounds. They are on the ground floor, and each individual working in this district makes up a brick that is far more valuable than the bricks that make up our state-of-the-art Primary Center.
Shouldn’t their opinion be most valued, and should they not be heard in order to make our system a better environment?