About 80 parents and staff gave Richard Jetter a standing ovation after he was named permanent superintendent of the Hamburg School District on a 4-2 vote Tuesday night. He had been the acting superintendent.
The meeting erupted several times as board members Sally Stephenson and Catherine Schrauth-Forcucci said $164,000 was too much to pay a new superintendent, particularly when others with more experience had applied for the position.
President David Yoviene ruled them out of order, and the audience yelled in objection when Schrauth-Forcucci said “It’s obvious that Santa Claus is coming to the Jetter household.”
Yoviene said the contract is in line with other superintendent contracts, and said it was a wonderful day for Hamburg.
“In the end,we chose the guy that we knew could handle the dysfunction” he said. “We chose the guy that stuck with us, we chose the guy that’s one of us.”
Board member Thomas Flynn said the district can look forward to five strong years under Jetter’s leadership. The contract expires in March 2019.
Jetter said he conceded to a salary of $164,000 in lieu of a five-year contract, and he made concessions in vacation and sick leave. Jetter was named the interim superintendent last July.
“The leadership that I’ve had to present in Hamburg and provide has been measured in dog years,” he said, getting a laugh from the audience.
The meeting was punctuated with outbursts from board members and members of the audience, and at one point, Stephenson grabbed the gavel from Yoviene and kept banging it while Dan Chiacchia, a resident and critic of Stephenson, was talking.
Chiacchia criticized Stephenson for refusing to provide a deposition to the district’s lawyer in a lawsuit filed against the district, then giving an affidavit to the plaintiff’s attorney.
“This is nonsense, she needs to go now,” he said.
Ed Piazza, a resident and a leader of a community group with Chiacchia that is seeking the removal of Stephenson and Schrauth-Forcucci, summed up the thoughts of many in the audience when he said, “I’ve never been so proud of a district and so embarrassed in the same meeting.”