WILKES-BARRE – The day after federal agents hit Wilkes-Barre Area School District with a flurry of subpoenas, Board Solicitor Ray Wendolowski said there would be little comment on the details.
"We fully intend to cooperate with the federal authorities and I won't have any real comment," Wendolowski said. "We don't want to interfere with an ongoing investigation."
Asked about subpoenas for records involving his transactions with the district, Wendolowski said that, if the board wants any legal advice on those requests, it will have to hire another attorney. "I have no idea who that would be."
Board President Maryanne Toole said she has not seen the subpoenas but had talked to Wendolowski about them, and he had largely confirmed what Namey had said after Wednesday's meetings: The subpoenas sought a wide range of information including emails and correspondences from Namey and other administrators, records related to Wendolowski and former solicitor Anthony Lupas, and employment records for John Quinn Jr., the son of board member John Quinn Sr.
Toole said she was told the subpoenas also asked for records related to bus transportation contracts.
Certified to teach high school math, Quinn Jr. has worked part-time intermittently for the district for 15 or more years, Namey has said. Most recently, he taught summer school this year, an appointment that was approved retroactively by the School Board on Wednesday night.
Namey told The Times Leader last month that district policy is to leave summer school hiring up to administration. The jobs, which run six weeks, are offered first to full-time district teachers, then to substitutes who have taught in the district. Quinn Jr. has taught as a substitute.
Local tow-truck operator and frequent board critic Bob Kadluboski has publicly accused the board of cutting a deal that would make Wendolowski solicitor for $195,000 this year in exchange for Quinn and the relatives of several other board members landing jobs or promotions. Wendolowski flatly denies any deal.
On Thursday Kadluboski said he believes the fact that agents are looking into Quinn Jr.'s employment record, and that they sat through Wednesday's meeting, bolsters his allegation. "I'm glad someone is taking action to stop this," he said.
Namey said after the meeting that he had no idea why the agents stayed, and briefly speculated that it could be because they thought the board was going to hire Quinn Jr. or other relatives of board members.
But Quinn Jr. was not on the agenda for a vote. Nor were Sandy Elmy, wife of Board Member Louis Elmy, or Claire Corcoran, wife of Board Member Robert Corcoran, both currently employed part-time by the district. The agendas were printed and publicly available before the Secret Service agents arrived.
During the public comment section at Wednesday's meeting, Kadluboski criticized the board for contemplating the hiring of more relatives, saying they would be "lower than sewer rats" if they did. At that point, the only relatives on the agenda for a vote were Dino Galella Jr., as a summer school teacher, and Christa Galella as a junior high school athletic director.
Both have worked for the district for several years as teachers, and both were approved by the board for those additional positions during the meeting, with board member Dino Galella Sr. abstaining. .
Christa Galella was technically reinstated to a position she held before the board eliminated seventh- and eighth-grade sports last year. The board voted to bring those programs back, and on Thursday Toole said they were required by the teachers contract to reinstate Christa Galella if she wanted the job.
Toole said Wednesday that Quinn Jr. was not on the agenda for a possible job because there was no secondary math position available. One teacher has gone on leave, but the district filled the need by rescheduling, she said.
Asked if the board had considered promotions for Sandy Elmy or Claire Corcoran, Toole said she had left an executive session held Monday before personnel decisions were brought up, but she did not recall any mention of the two in paperwork at the meeting.
Namey and several board members did not return calls Thursday.