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Starpoint board extends clerk's insurance 5 years

The Starpoint School Board voted last week to give five years of health insurance after retirement to the district clerk.

The measure to give Ruth D. Pirinelli the extra health insurance passed 7-1, with board member Kelly V. Zarcone opposed.

Zarcone said after the meeting that she did not think the School Board should be giving anyone an extra five years of health insurance.

On Monday night, Zarcone announced she was resigning her seat, making her the second board member to do so in the last month.

Pirinelli, who is 57, said she is not thinking of retiring in the near future. She's worked for 23 years as district clerk and before that she worked for three years in the business office.

"I love my job," Pirinelli said.

School Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan said he asked the School Board to grant Pirinelli the extra years of health insurance "because of the uniqueness of [her] role."

Pirinelli has to help run meetings in addition to many other jobs, Whelan said, adding, "She's very key to the running of this district."

Board member Janice M. Covell said she voted to give Pirinelli the extra years of health insurance because of her many years of service and because of the work she performs.

"I think that she deserved it. She's a special case. . . . What she does, no one else does."

Pirinelli acts as an "administrative assistant," not as a secretary, in her post, Covell said, and has "run the district on her own" at times when Starpoint was without a superintendent.

In another matter, the School Board voted, 8-0, on Monday night, with President Sam J. Geraci absent, to name Jonathan R. Andrews, the district's accountant, to temporarily fill the position of Stephen J. Lunden, director of administrative services.

Lunden, who received $94,000 a year in his job at Starpoint, announced in May he was resigning this month to take a job as assistant superintendent in the Maryvale School District in Cheektowaga.

Whelan said Andrews is temporarily taking most of the duties of the job for $100 extra pay per day. Andrews was paid $45,249 in the 2005-06 school year, according to district payroll records.

Whelan said the School Board plans to vote at the reorganizational meeting, held at 7:30 p.m. July 9 in the boardroom of the district, 4363 Mapleton Road, to designate Andrews as purchasing agent for the district until the board hires someone else.

Meanwhile, Whelan said he has posted the job opening and is in the process of looking through a dozen applications. He said he'll start interviewing this month to fill Lunden's post and hopes to have the School Board hire someone to begin in September.


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