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BOARD TO NAME NEW SUPERINTENDENT AT SPECIAL MEETING

The Lackawanna School Board will hold a special meeting to appoint a new superintendent of schools at 7 p.m. today in the high school band rehearsal room.

Temporary Superintendent Paul G. Hashem confirmed that he was asked if he would consider the job if it were offered at a special meeting. Such a session is called on 24 hours' notice, and the board hears no public comment.

"I was asked only if there was a special meeting and if I were offered the position, would I consider it," Hashem said Tuesday. "I said I would consider it. They didn't tell me anything but that."

Hashem said that he believes, but was not told, that there could be other candidates.

"It wasn't like, 'You're the guy,' " Hashem said.

The job opened April 30 when Superintendent Monica Kole, who antagonized some board members by speaking out against patronage, resigned under pressure.

Hashem, an assistant to the Middle School principal, was named temporary superintendent. He did not at that time appear to be in line for permanent appointment.

May 12, two new board members -- Robert Lohr and Annette Schiavi-Iafallo -- were elected. The next day the board currently in office, with two lame duck members, voted to ask the state to waive the required superintendent's certificate for veteran politician Raymond F. Gallagher.

Less than a month later, Gallagher, former chairman of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, withdrew his name for lack of unanimous support.

Last week, before the regularly scheduled board meeting on Wednesday, , it was rumored that the board would name Hashem. During the public comment session, three citizens urged the board to allow the panel taking office after July 1 to hire a new superintendent. No action was taken.

Lohr recalled Tuesday that he had predicted weeks ago that the current board would call a quick meeting "in some place inaccessible except by crane or a mountain goat" and make a quick appointment.

"Obviously they decided they wanted to have it at a special meeting," said Lohr. "Obviously this is a forum they feel comfortable with. I hope it is Hashem. He's been in the job, and there's a sense of stability."

Board member Edward Piotrowski said he would prefer to see the appointment made after July 1.

"If I had anything to say about it, I would not do this at this time," said Piotrowski, who supported Kole, but has missed recent meetings because of a medical problem.

"The administration, the parents, the board members -- everybody should be involved. Four or five board members are doing the whole thing," he said.

Outgoing board member M. Elaine Mandy objected when Kole was appointed at a special meeting, cutting short a search.

"I regretted what happened last year," said Mandy, a retired administrator and former supervisor of Hashem. "I have no comment on anything on the agenda."

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