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Effort to oust official under way

December 5, 2012
By LEVI PASCHER , The Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE - Members of the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education have filed a petition with the state seeking to remove board President Peter Semione, for alleged misconduct.

Board member Joseph Andrews said the petition was signed and notarized by five board members and sent to the state Education Department last week and Semione has since been served.

"Now we are just waiting on the commissioner's response," Andrews said.

A spokeswoman for the state Education Department said the department cannot release the petition to the public yet because Semione has not yet responded.

Semione has until Dec. 17 to respond to the petition unless an extension is granted, Education Department spokeswoman Antonia Valentine said. After that time, the state commissioner of education could issue a ruling on whether Semione committed misconduct and should be removed.

The Department of Education website said a petition will not be ready for review until all of the papers in the case have been filed. The commissioner will issue a decision within six to eight months, but with hundreds of complex appeals filed each year, it is impossible to guarantee a specific date, according to the Education Department.

Semione was elected to a three-year term in May. Each July, the board decides on a new board president. Board members are not paid.

It remains unclear at this time whether the petition would be answered before the election for board president in July.

Semione did not return phone calls seeking comment this morning.

Some school board members claim Semione has performed his duties improperly and has bullied board members. Semione has denied the claims.

The board is seeking to either remove Semione from his role as president or from the school board altogether.

Andrews said the issues with Semione began when board members ran into difficulty trying to get questions answered about the transfer of Maggie

Savage, a high school music teacher and a specialist in vocal training, to a position at the middle school.

Andrews claims Semione called him, Polly Peck and Vice President Frank Carangelo and made threats to them.

Semione has denied threatening anyone.

The board said Semione violated Section 306 of the Education Law, which allows the commissioner to remove a board member for gross misconduct.

The board hired the Rose Law Firm of Little Falls at a cost of $150 per hour in October and set no cap on the number of hours he will work on the case.

Andrews said today he does not know how much Rose will charge the district for the petition work.

"Everything has been sent. Now is the time we are just waiting for an answer," Andrews said.

Levi Pascher covers Gloversville news. He can be reached by email at gloversville@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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